Danilo Türk, Member of World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid (WLA – CdM) and former President of Slovenia, led a mission to Georgia aimed at reforming the labour mediation mechanism.
The mission, which took place in Tbilisi between February 11th and 12th, supported the efforts of the Human Rights Education Center Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC), an NGO that is working on vulnerable groups, institutional reforms and public awareness.
Over the past few years, the economic policies pursued by the Government of Georgia resulted in major deregulation in the field of labour. This was reflected in the adoption of labour legislation and the abolition of mechanisms for the enforcement of labour rights. Both had a negative impact on the status of human rights protection in the country. Following the change of government in 2013, several reforms were introduced in the labour and employment areas. There were a number of changes made to the Labour Code, including the introduction of a mediation mechanism for collective labour disputes.
“There has to be a fair balance between employers and employees regarding bargaining power, and governments have a role to play in that regard”, said Member Danilo Türk at a dialogue on labour mediation with International Labour Organization (ILO) Chief Adviser in Georgia.
The former President of Slovenia also joined the multistakeholder dialogue titled “Labour Mediation Mechanism in Georgia: Identifying Setbacks and Reconciling Recommendations”, which gathered together government officials, civil society and trade union representative as well as the ILO and other stakeholders. President Türk offered an overview of key policies in the area of labour inspection in Slovenia and from a UN perspective.
EMC has sought to re-open the debate on the importance of reviewing and strengthening the agreements reached through the mediation mechanism by applying the INSPIRED methodology. It has thus sought to approach the dialogue process from a new perspective grounded in international conventions:
– The ILO Convention concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, C087 (1948)
– The ILO Convention concerning the Application of the Principles of the Right to Organise and to Bargain Collectively, C098 (1949)
A meeting was held with the Deputy Minister of Health, Labour, and Social Affairs, Tamila Barkalaia. The deputy minister warned about the importance of discussing labour relations beyond the mediation mechanism itself and spoke of the challenge of making the mechanism popular and the efforts aimed at promoting tripartite dynamics in the regulation of labour relations. At the end of the meeting, the Deputy Minister agreed to incorporate EMC’s recommendations contained in the PPA into the upcoming 5-year strategy.
In that same meeting, President Türk recalled that the adoption of domestic policies –especially policies aimed at achieving labour standards and human rights– requires the participation of multiple stakeholders alongside government.
The mission is part of the EU-funded INSPIRED + project, which WLA – CdM implements together with the European Partnership for Democracy and The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy. INSPIRED+ fosters the compliance of core human rights conventions of the United Nations and the ILO with the incentive of granting access to certain trade benefits from the European Union (EU GDP+ framework).