On April 28 – International Workers’ Memorial Day

According to the data of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), every year up to 3 million people worldwide die from workplace injuries and occupational diseases. The indicated figure makes it clear that the situation in this regard is deplorable and it is time for the governments of countries and employers to raise the occupational health and safety issue at the workplace and recognize it as the fundamental human right.

It is significant that the International Labour Organization (ILO) has recognized the protection of safety and health at workplaces as a fundamental human right and the obligation to protect it has been confirmed in several ILO acts. The recipients of all these documents are governments, employers and trade unions; therefore compliance with internationally recognized obligations is the minimum that should ensure the establishment of a safe working environment.

The 2019 Declaration of the International Labour Organization includes a pledge that the safety and health of all workers in the workplace must be protected. The trade unions plan to use the above-mentioned application of the International Labour Organization to more effectively deal with the challenges, as a result of which approximately 3 million workers worldwide die every year  and tens of millions of workers face health problems.

Compliance with labour safety standards at workplaces in Georgia is still one of the main challenges.

 

According to the data of the Ministry of IDPs from the occupied territories, Labour, Health and Social Protection of Georgia, since the restoration of the Labour Inspection Service in Georgia (2018), the statistics of fatal cases are as follows:

 

  • 59 people died in 2018
  • 45 people died in 2019
  • 39 people died in 2020
  • 37 people died in 2021
  • 35 people died in 2022

 

Despite the declining trend of deaths, the above statistics are still worrying. The share of workplace deaths in Georgia is 3.1 times higher than the EU average.

Against this background, it is significant that Georgia has not ratified any convention of the International Labour Organization that regulates labour safety issues. Ratification of the ILO Conventions is important, on the one hand, to obtain additional new regulations in the part where compliance with the standards of the International Labour Organization is not ensured, and on the other hand, to ensure the sustainability of the existing regulations.

Following the fulfillment of obligations under the “Association Agreement” signed between Georgia and the European Union in 2014, only part of the subordinate normative acts regulating labour safety issues were developed in the format of the Tripartite Social Partnership Commission. To this day, the elaboration of the legislative base in the direction of the development of normative acts is a big challenge, which is why, together with the normative acts adopted by Georgia, the Soviet normative acts adopted before 1992 are still in force.

 

Based on all of the above:

 

In order to protect the life and safety of employees at workplaces, the Georgian Trade Unions Confederation (GTUC) demands:

 

 

  • To ratify International Labour Organization Convention 81 – “On Labour Inspection in Trade and Industry”, Convention 155 – “Occupational Safety and Health” and Convention 121 – “Providing assistance in the event of injury to the health of an employee during the performance of work duties”.

 

  • With the involvement of social partners, to prepare and adopt subordinate normative acts regulating labour safety issues in compliance with International Labour Organization standards and EU directives in an accelerated manner.

 

  • Organizational strengthening of the Labour Inspection Service, including increase of regional offices, should take place.