IDS Borjomi, one of the largest mineral water producers in Georgia, has denied the accusation by striking employees of the company who earlier today said the enterprise was intending to replace the protesting workers with other staff from Georgia, Russia and Ukraine.
Dozens of workers of IDS Borjomi who went on strike about a week ago released a statement on Monday, saying the company was willing to pay more salaries to other employees in order to “punish” those on protest by not paying salaries for two months.
Borjomi in response also said it was limited in financial resources due to frozen accounts, therefore, was unable to pay wages to those who currently were not involved in the production process.
About 400 employees of the enterprise began “full-scale peaceful picketing” of the entrances of both factories of the company in Georgia until the fulfilment of their 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.
The Georgian Health Ministry announced on Monday it began an “active involvement” in the ongoing processes to “stabilise the situation”, noting with the mediation of the Labour Inspection Office and the Health Ministry meetings would be held with the employees and employers to “reach an agreement” between the parties, “fully consider their interests” and “restore the full functioning of the mineral water bottling plants.”
Protesters also noted both the company and the Georgian Government were responsible for the escalation of the situation, saying the latter “had done nothing to de-escalate the situation.”
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.
The company, partly owned by Alfa Group, one of the largest privately-owned financial investment conglomerates in Russia, also announced its submission of a formal proposal to transfer a part of its shares to the Georgian Government for free on May 19.