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Demonstration of Employed Women

March 11, 2008

Employed women burnt down the poster of Georgian Labor Code in protest

Maka Malakmadze, Batumi

On March 8 women from Batumi held a demonstration and demanded to introduce amendments to the Labor Code and to protect the rights of the employed people. Representatives of the Trade Union sent a petition to the Georgian President with the above-mentioned demands.

Zhuzhuna Turmanidze is a worker of the Makhinjauri Clothes Factory. She joined the demonstration to protect her rights; though she doubts soon she will lose job because of her protest. “We are forced to work very hard. We can never celebrate holidays; we had several days-off during New Year. I have not signed a contract yet; I am a new employee there. My co-workers have signed the contracts but while signing the documents they did not have chance to read them. I might have some problems after I made a speech on the demonstration. Some time ago our workers held protest demonstration and they were fired from the factory afterwards.”

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili opened the Makhinjauri Clothes Factory in May of 2007. The owner of the factory is Turkish citizen Nuri Sarmaia.

Employees of the Batumi Clothes Factory also complained about their violated rights and low salaries. The employed women burnt down the poster of the Georgian Labor Code in protest.

“The code does not envisage any privileges for women with under-age children or pregnant women. We condemn the slavery labor code,” said the demonstrator.

The appeal to the President of the Trade Union states: “We demand to establish a special governmental commission with the participation of Trade Unions which will work on the amendments that must be introduced to the Labor Code; real measures must be taken in order to improve the demographic fund in Georgia as well as to protect the social rights of the women, to guarantee their labor and social rights; to review the issue of compensations for abused women. We hope the government will take care of a Georgian mother and woman and will improve their poorest conditions for better generation.”
Bob Filding, a representative of the American Solidarity Center in Georgia, attended the demonstration. The center has branches in 60 countries throughout the world including Georgia. Filding stated that the Georgian government should make changes into the Labor Code for the protection of the women’s rights in accordance to the international law.  

“Every Georgian woman has similar complaints about the code and I believe that the Georgian Labor Code must be amended. More attention must be drawn to the employed women’s rights. International labor organizations have convention- it is international laws on labor rights and it would be good if Georgia establishes the same rights for the women. Georgia is paving its way towards the EU; the latter pays much attention to the labor rights of the women. Those international laws should be enforced in Georgia too.”