Georgian social workers go on strike, demanding better working conditions

Social workers are protesting in Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi. Photo: Social Workers for Systemic Changes/facebook., 25 Mar 2019 - 16:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

A large-scale strike of Georgia’s social workers has been underway since 8:30 am across the country.

Protestors demand better working conditions and more efficient and timely services from the Social Service Agency of Georgia for the individuals it is responsible for.

The Open Society Georgia Foundation has expressed support for the workers and states that their demands serve to improve the social protection system in Georgia.

Social workers' protest in Batumi: Photo:Social Workers for Systemic Changes/facebook

The foundation says the working conditions of those working in the system are especially alarming adding the government is obliged to ensure safe and proper working conditions for them. It calls upon the government and parliament to take the social workers’ demands into consideration.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Affairs Tamar Barkalaia said most of the social workers’ claims have been granted and the remaining issues require time for resolution, adding the Health Ministry will provide the services the social workers generally carry out.

Barkalaia stated the ministry has established a plan to settle the problem but some issues require more time. 

Barkalaia noted that the involvement of the Social Service Agency in the implementation of the plan is very important. 

We held meetings with the social workers in a format in which the health minister, the leadership of the Social Service Agency and a labor-related disputes mediator were involved,’’ she said.

The protestors in front of the government chancellery, Tbilisi. Photo:Social Workers for Systemic Changes/facebook

Most of the social workers’ claims have been granted and the rest require some time for resolution”, Tamar Barkalaia stated, adding  the social workers seem to be upset and still decided to go on strike. 

The social workers announced the strike after a five-hour meeting at the Health Ministry on March 20. Social worker Ketevan Khutsishvili said that the protesters and Health Ministry agreed to only two demands out of a total of 22.

Social workers are protesting in Tbilisi, Batumi and Kutaisi.