About 400 employees of IDS Borjomi, one of the largest mineral water producers in Georgia, went on strike earlier today demanding reinstatement of 50 coworkers dismissed following the company’s announcement of a “temporary suspension” of production in late April.
A “full-scale, permanent” strike of the workers, announced by the Trade Union of Employees in Agrarian Farming, Trade earlier today, involves six demands including an “immediate reinstatement” of the “illegally dismissed” employees of the company, issuance of their salaries, return to previous labour conditions and lifelong contracts for every employee of the company, along with a 25 percent salary increase.
Additionally, protesters have demanded elimination of the cases of “blackmail, threats of dismissal and coercion” at the enterprise, and prosecution of individuals involved in the alleged wrongdoings. They have also requested a collective agreement to be reached between the administration and workers.
A mediation process between the company and the employees, with the involvement of the country’s Health Ministry, has failed, leading to the workers being able to use the right to strike on the 21st day after the launch of the mediation process, Giorgi Diasamidze, the Head of the Trade Union, was cited as saying by the local business online media outlet bm.ge.
IDS Borjomi in late April announced a “temporary suspension” of the production at both of its plants in Georgia due to the war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Russian-owned businesses. At the beginning of May, it dismissed 50 employees on account of their refusal to agree to a change in the contracts during the “reorganisation process,” the company said.
Borjomi is partly owned by Alfa Group, one of the largest privately-owned financial investment conglomerates in Russia, with 60 percent of the mineral water company's shares owned by the conglomerate since 2013.
The founder of Alfa Group is Russian businessman Mikhail Fridman, who has been listed by a number of countries among the sanctioned oligarchs since the start of hostilities in Ukraine.
Producer and exporter of the Borjomi mineral water, the company also announced its submission of a formal proposal to transfer a part of its shares to the Georgian Government for free on May 19.