Strengthening Workers' Organizations in Georgia
Workers’ organizations in Georgia were negatively impacted by the 2006 adoption of a new labor code that weakened labor protections with respect to freedom of association and other fundamental labor rights and principles. In spite of an improved national environment as a result of policy changes implemented by the current government, workers and workers’ organizations continue to face a range of challenges that hamper their ability to effectively engage to improve respect for worker rights and working conditions. Their capacity, in terms of both a reduction in the number of staff and in the knowledge and skill base of remaining staff in key areas such as representing members in dispute resolution, collective bargaining, and with respect to violations of national labor laws, has not returned since being decimated by the previous government. The general lack of knowledge among workers regarding their rights, particularly with respect to the 2013 amended labor code, presents another challenge in monitoring and advocating for better working conditions.
Engagement by workers’ organizations with government and employers to protect workers’ rights, with a focus on occupational safety and health (OSH), will be strengthened by meeting the following objectives:
- Workers’ organizations effectively conduct outreach and training for members regarding Georgian labor laws and how the laws are enforced, especially with respect to OSH hazards; and
- Increased effectiveness of workers’ organizations in representing workers in collective bargaining, dispute resolution, legal proceedings, and tripartite consultations with the government and employers.
The project strategy is based on the following theory of change: If workers’ organizations’ professional capacity increases as a result of the program, then they will engage more effectively with stakeholders (government and employers), leading to an improved and more cooperative working relationship based on mutual self-interest. This relationship will, in turn, facilitate the development of more effective dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve labor-management disputes, thereby better protecting workers’ rights and improving compliance with labor laws. Over time, these measures will support the growth of a modern system of labor-management relations in Georgia, which will result in improved national compliance with international labor standards.