Today at the GTUC conference room the president of the GTUC, Irakli Petriashvili and vice-president of Railway Workers’ New Trade Union, Ilia Lejava, held a press conference on the lawsuit filed in the Constitutional Court of Georgia.
Irakli Petriashvili stressed that in comparison to the last labor code, the current labor code’s terms on establishing work hours are noticeably worse.
The Trade Union has filed a lawsuit at the Constitutional Court of Georgia with a request that Article 14, point 1 of the Labor Code be deemed unconstitutional because it violates 14th and 30th articles of the Constitution of Georgia. The labor code’s article establishes 48 hour workweeks as normal working hours for workers employed under “specific regime”. Since 40 hour work weeks are the standard work hours established under the labor code for all other fields of work, the “specific regime” clause demanding 48 hour workweeks is discriminatory since it obligates a certain part of the overall workforce to work more hours than everyone else.
Mr. Petriashvili also noted that these “specific regime” sectors were identified and listed on the 11th of December, 2013 and includes practically every economic sector in the country; however, it does not list specific industries that can utilize this law. Thus, the employer may use this law to their advantage and establish 48 hour work weeks onto their employees even if these employees would not adversely affect company’s function if they were to work a 40 hour week.
Whether this was a calculated error or an accidental lapse in judgment, it creates a problem for majority of workers. In essence, instead of establishing a standard workweek of 40 hours, the law established a 48 hour workweek as a standard.
This noticeable change for the worse has become a problem for such issues as eligibility for overtime pay.
According to the president of the GTUC, there are errors both in the norms established by the law and also the terminology used. Due to these misunderstandings, many disputes are becoming more heated and these problems must be resolved quickly.