PM Gakharia on miners’ protest: investors, employers must fully meet their obligations

PM Giorgi Gakharia says that the problems miners face are unacceptable. Photo: government of Georgia press office., 26 Sep 2019 - 13:12, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia says that investors and employers must fully meet their financial obligations and ensure appropriate working conditions for their personnel, in a response to an ongoing miners’ protest in Georgia’s Tkibuli municipality, where workers are demanding salaries and a decision on the reopening of two mines.

Today, Economy Minister Natia Turnava will travel to Tkibuli not to familiarise herself with the situation but to settle the problem,” Gakharia said.

He stated that the Georgian government is doing its best to ‘stand by business and support its development’.

However, business should also consider current social conditions of people and fully meet their obligations,” Gakharia said.

Miners are demanding back pay in Tkibuli, western Georgia, which, as they say, should have been received on September 15.  They are also demanding the reopening of the mines.

Six miners died and three have been injured as a ceiling collapsed at the Mindeli coal mine in the town of Tkibuli in western Georgia on April 5, 2018. Photo: Radio Liberty/Free Europe.

Work has been suspended in the Mindeli and Dzidziguri mines of Tkibuli since July 16, 2018 after a fatal explosion left four miners died and six others injured.

The Georgian government invited German experts to study the situation in the mines and promised salaries and insurance coverage before the mines are reopened.

The Georgian Ministry of Economy stated yesterday that the conclusion of the German DMT company revealed safety violations in Tkibuli mines and Sakhshiri was given recommendations to eradicate the flaws one year ago.

Saknakhshiri, a daughter company of Georgian Industrial Group (GIG), which owns the mines, says that the company faces financial problems due to the suspended work, promising giving the salaries to miners at the beginning of October.