Georgian coalminers strike for 13th day to demand better pay

TBILISI, Georgia – Georgian coalminers have been on strike for thirteen days and are still stationed outside a coal company’s administration building in the western part of the country in their protest to demand better pay.

After strike participants stormed the Georgia Industrial Group administration building last night, protests quieted on Friday as the strike continued.

Over 500 miners from the Dzidziguri and Mendeli coal mines, owned by GIG, have refused to work, saying their wages have not increased since a 2012 strike, despite the rising cost of living.

“None of our petitions or statements brought any results. The administration only laughed at us and they aren’t going to respond to any of our demands,” said Dmitry Huskivadze, a protester who was storming the administration building on Thursday night.

The Georgian lari has nearly halved in value to the dollar since 2014, causing inflation and effectively weakening the value of the coalminers’ salaries, which range from 400 to 430 laris a month ($222-238).

The GIG administration said it would consider the question of wage raises in two months if the miners returned to work, but the strikers rebuffed the offer.