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THE LAW OF GEORGIA ON TRADE UNION

1997

Chapter I. General Provisions

Article 1. Objectives of the Law

1. The Law of Georgia on Trade Unions shall establish the legal basis for the creation and the guarantees of the rights and activities of the trade unions.

2. This Law shall regulate:

a) social relations pertained to the establishment and implementation of the guarantees of the rights and activities of the trade unions;

b) relations of the trade unions, associations (federation) of the trade unions with the bodies of the state authority and local self-governing bodies, employers, associations (unions) of the employers, other voluntary associations, natural and legal persons.

Article 2. Right to Form a Trade Union, an Association (Federation) of Trade Unions

1. A trade union means a voluntary public association (organization) of persons (workers), linked by common production and professional interests by nature of their activities, whose objective is to protect and represent labour, socio-economic rights and interests.

2. In accordance with the Constitution of Georgia, everyone is entitled to form trade unions and join the trade union.

3. A trade union can be established at any enterprise, institution, organization and in other places of work.

4. The peculiar features of forming trade unions in the bodies of defence, internal affairs, state security, in the tax, customs and judicial bodies and in the offices of public prosecutor, shall be prescribed by the legislation on these bodies.

5. A person (worker), who reached the age of 15 years or over, engaged in labour activity or studying at a higher educational, specialized secondary and vocational training institutions, shall be entitled to form trade unions and join the trade union, take part in trade union activities and leave freely the trade union. Temporary disabled persons and pensioners can continue to be members of a trade union.

6. A trade union shall be formed on a sectoral, industrial, territorial and other basis of the occupational nature.

7. The trade unions shall be entitled to form:

a) primary trade union organizations at the enterprises, institutions, and in other places of work.

b) nation-wide trade union organizations and associations (federations), trade union organizations and associations (federations) of the Abkhazian and Adjar Autonomous Republics, regional, district, town trade union organizations and associations, as well as trade union organizations and associations at the enterprises and institutions.

8. In order to form a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, an organizing body (action committee) shall convene a constituency assembly (conference, congress), which shall adopt a Statue and elect the steering trade union bodies.

9. A trade union can be formed on the initiative of not less than 100 persons.

10. All trade unions shall enjoy equal rights.

Article 3. Basic Notions

1. A sectoral trade union means a trade union which unites, on a voluntary basis, trade union members working at the enterprises, institutions and organizations of one or several related branches of the national economy of Georgia, and carries out its activities on its whole territory.

2. An occupational trade union means a trade union which unites, on a voluntary basis, trade union members of the same occupation, working at the enterprises, institutions and organizations of one or several related branches, and carries out its activities on the territory of one or several enterprises, institutions, organizations, districts, towns, regions or all over Georgia.

3. A trade union or a trade union organization of an enterprise, institution, organization, district, town, region, the Abkhazian and Adjar Autonomous Republics means a trade union which unites, on a voluntary basis, trade union members of one trade union, and carries out its activities, accordingly, on the territory of one enterprise, institution, organization, district, town, region, the Abkhazian and Adjar Autonomous Republics.

4. An association (federation) of trade unions of the enterprises, institutions, organizations, districts, towns, regions, the Abkhazian and Adjar Autonomous Republics means an association (federation) of trade unions which unites, on a voluntary basis, trade unions and/or associations (federations) of trade unions, and carries out its activities, accordingly, on the territory of an enterprise, institution, organization, district, town, region, the Abkhazian and Adjar Autonomous Republics.

5. A nation-wide association (federation) of trade unions means an association (federation) of trade unions which unites, on a voluntary basis, trade unions and/or associations (federations) of trade unions, and carries out its activities on the whole territory of Georgia.

6. A primary trade union organization means a trade organization which unites, on a voluntary basis, trade union members working at one enterprise, institution, organization, and carries out its activities in accordance with the statute of the trade union concerned and with the regulations on a primary trade union organization.

7. A trade union body means a body formed (elected) in accordance with the statute of a trade union, statute of an association (federation) of trade unions, or with the regulations on a primary trade union organization.

8. A trade union committee means a trade union body elected by a primary trade union organization.

9. A trade union organizer means a trade union member who is elected by a primary trade union organization which comprises, at least, 15 registered trade union members, and who is authorized to act by an assembly of trade union members.

10. An employer (a person who is a job provider) means an organization or a legal person, represented by its chief executive officer (administration), or a natural person, with whom a worker (employee) officially concluded an agreement (contract) of employment.

11. A worker means a natural person working at an enterprise, institution, organization on the basis of a labour agreement (contract), or engaged in individual entrepreneurial activity.

12. A member of a trade union means a natural person (a worker, a temporary unemployed person, a pensioner, a student), who shares (agrees with) the Statute of a trade union and observes it, and who is a registered member of a trade union organization.

13. A trade union official means a member of trade union who is elected to a trade union body or engaged in this body under a labour agreement (contract).

14. A collective agreement means an agreement signed between an employer, enterprise, institution, organization and an organization of a trade union, which regulates labour, social and professional relations of the parties.

15. A sectoral (tariff) agreement means an agreement signed between the bodies concerned of the state executive authority, trade unions and employers (entrepreneurs), which regulates labour, economic and social relations of the parties.

16. A general agreement means an agreement signed between the Government, trade unions and nation-wide associations of employers of Georgia, which regulates labour, economic and social relations of the parties.

Article 4. Sphere of the Application of the Law

This Law shall apply to:

a) all citizens and members of trade unions of Georgia, foreign nationals and stateless persons residing in Georgia, with the exception for the cases established by the legislation and international treaties of Georgia;

b) all types of enterprises, institutions and organizations, trade unions, associations (fedreations) of trade unions, carrying out their activities in the territory of Georgia;

c) organizations of trade unions of Georgia, which are outside the territory of Georgia.

Article 5. Independence of a Trade Union

1. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall be independent from the bodies of the state authority and self-governing bodies, employers, associations (unions, federations) of employers, political parties and organizations, and shall not be accountable to and under control of these bodies, with the exception for the cases established by the legislation.

2. A trade union shall not form a political party (association) and it shall not be associated with any political party (association).

Article 6. Legal Basis of the Activities of a Trade Union

1. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall be governed in its activities by the Constitution of Georgia, international treaties and agreements of Georgia, this Law, other legislative acts of Georgia and its own Statute.

2. If an international treaty or agreement of Georgia, which is not contrary to the Constitution of Georgia, set forth other rules than those provided for by this Law, the rules, established by international treaties and agreements of Georgia shall be applied.

Article 7. Statute of a Trade Union, its Registration, Status of a Legal Person

1. The objectives and tasks of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, procedures of joining and leaving a trade union, rights and duties of its members, structure, competence and term of office of the supreme and steering bodies, sources of generating incomes and assets and procedure of their utilization, conditions for introducing amendments into a statute, grounds for terminating activities, name, location and territory of activities, as well as other important issues thereof, shall be defined by their statutes in accordance with the legislation.

2. The statutes of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, amendments and supplements to their statutes shall be registered in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation.

3. Primary trade union organizations and other structural units acting on the basis of a registered statute of a trade union, shall not be subject to registration.

4. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall acquire the status of a legal person from the moment of their registration in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation.

Article 8. Cooperation with the Trade Unions of Other Countries

The trade unions of Georgia shall be entitled to cooperate with the trade unions of other countries, become members of various international trade union organizations and conclude with them treaties and agreements unless it is contrary to the legislation of Georgia.

Article 9. Reorganization and liquidation of a Trade Union

1. The reorganization of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall be carried out by the decision of the members of the trade union (assembly, conference, congress) in accordance with its own statute.

2. The liquidation of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall be carried out by the decision of:

a) the members of the trade union (assembly, conference, congress) in accordance with its own statute;

b) the court - in case of the violation of this Law or its own statute, or in view of the activities prohibited by the legislation, upon the representation of a registration body.

3. The suspension and prohibition of the activities of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions or can be carried out only by a decision of the court, in the cases defined by the Organic Law and in accordance with the established procedure.

Chapter II. Basic Rights of a Trade Union

Article 10. Right to protect and represent the labour and socio-economic rights and interests of the workers

1. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall protect and represent the labour and socio-economic rights and interests of the members of trade unions.

2. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall be entitled to take part in the preliminary examination at the bodies concerned of the drafts of the legislative and normative by-laws on labour and socioeconomic issues and develop alternative proposals.

3. A trade union shall submit to the bodies of the state authority the proposals on establishing basic criteria related to living standards and levels of compensations.

4. A trade union shall protect the rights of its members to freely use labour opportunities, choose an occupation and get an equitable remuneration of labour, being not less than the minimum established by the legislation.

5. The rates of labour, system of labour remuneration, forms of financial incentives, tariff rates and salary scales shall be established, in accordance with the legislation, by the employers, associations (unions, federations) of the employers, with the participation of the trade unions concerned, and they shall be stipulated, on the basis of agreement of the parties, in a collective (tariff) agreement (contract).

6. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, within the limits of its competence, can take part in discussing the issues and proposals, brought to their notice by the bodies of the state authority and self-governing bodies, as well as by the employers, associations (unions, federations) of the employers, and by other voluntary associations.

7. The steering bodies of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall examine issues related to the labour and socio-economic interests and rights, on the basis of the conditions provided for by collective agreements (contracts).

Article 11. Right to Promote Employment

1. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall participate in the elaboration and implementation of the state employment policy and measures aimed at ensuring social protection of the workers released from the enterprises, institutions and organizations.

2. The employers, associations (unions, federations) of the employers shall inform in advance - at least, at two months' notice - the trade unions concerned about the liquidation, reorganization or temporary suspension of the operation of the enterprises, institutions and organizations, that would result in reducing the number of jobs or deteriorating the working conditions, in order to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of released workers, established by the legislation and collective agreements (contracts).

3. A trade union shall be entitled to submit to the bodies concerned of the state authority the proposals on the postponement or suspension of the arrangements related to mass release of workers.

4. A trade union shall exercise public control over the employment situation.

5. An early termination, on the initiative of an employer, of a labour agreement (contract) with a worker - member of a trade union, on the basis of preliminary agreement with the trade union committee concerned, can be only possible in the cases provided for by the law, collective agreement and contract.

6. No discrimination shall be admitted against a worker on the part of an employer by reason of membership or non-membership of a trade union.

7. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall have the right to participate in examining the issues of the organized recruitment of the labour force from foreign countries for Georgia or its organized enrolment from Georgia.

Article 12. Right to Control Collective Bargaining and Implementation of a of a Collective Agreement (Contract)

1. The authorized representatives of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, primary trade union organization, on behalf of a working collective, shall hold negotiations with the authorized representatives of an employer, association (union, federation) of employers, bodies of the executive authority and local self-governing bodies, conclude collective agreements and contracts and control their implementation in accordance with the procedure provided for by these agreements (contracts).

2. The employers, associations (unions, federations) of the employers, bodies of the executive authority should hold negotiations with the primary trade union organizations, trade unions, associations (federations) of the trade unions on labour and socio-economic matters, provided that the primary trade union organizations, trade unions, associations (federations) of the trade unions put forward such initiative, and in case of reaching an agreement to conclude collective agreements (contracts).

Article 13. Right to Participate in Settling Collective Labour Disputes

1. A trade union shall be entitled to participate, in accordance with the established procedure, in examining individual and collective labour disputes on the issues related to the violation of the conditions of the labour legislations and collective agreements and contracts.

2. A trade union, with a view of protecting the labour and socio-economic rights of the workers, shall be entitled, in accordance with the legislation, to organize and hold strikes, meetings, demonstrations and other mass manifestations of protest.

3. In case of holding strikes and other manifestations of protest by a trade union on the basis of the observance of the provisions of the legislation, any responsive suppression measures shall be prohibited.

Article 14. Provision and Examination of Information

A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall have the right to receive from the administration of the enterprises, employer, association (union, federation) of employers, bodies of the state authority and local self-governing bodies and examine information on labour and socio-economic matters, required for ensuring their statutory activities, unless otherwise is provided for by the legislation.

Article 15. Training and Upgrading of a Trade Union Official

A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions can establish training, cultural and educational and research institutions and organizations in the field of training and upgrading of trade union officials and education of trade union members.

Article 16. Right of a Trade Union Control over the Observance of the Labour Legislation

1. A trade union shall exercise public control over the observance, with regard to the members of a trade union, of the arrangements , as well as other obligations of the employers, provided for by the labour legislation, labour agreements (contracts), in accordance with the procedure established by collective agreements (contracts).

2. A trade union shall have the right to require from an employer to eliminate the cases of the violation of the present Law.

3. In order to exercise public control over the observance of the guarantees, established by the labour legislation, legislation in the sphere of labour and health protection, as well as in the field of social security, a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall have the right to establish labour protection services (including officials of technical and legal labour protection inspections and authorized physicians), which shall carry out their activities on the basis of the regulations approved by a trade union concerned or associations of trade union.

4. The authorized representatives of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions and their bodies may enter the enterprises, organizations and institutions, visit the workplaces, where members of a trade union work, in accordance with the labour legislation, laws on trade unions, labour and health protection, collective, sectoral (tariff), general agreements and contracts.

Article 17. Right to Take Part in Labour and Environment Protection

1. A trade union shall be entitled, in accordance with the procedure established by the law, to take part in developing state programmes, legislative and normative by-laws in the field of protection environment, occupational diseases and ecological safety and exercise public control over their implementation.

2. A trade union shall be entitled to require from the bodies concerned to eliminate the cases of the violation of working conditions, which endanger the life and health of a workers.

3. A trade union, officials of its labour protection service shall take part in investigating the cases of industrial injuries and accidents.

4. A trade union, with a status of an observer, shall take part in examining the occupational safety of the industrial installations, mechanisms, plants, devices and instruments in the course of their design, construction and commission.

Article 18. Right to Take Part in Privatization of State Property

A trade union, authorized by a working collective, shall be entitled to have its representatives in the commissions on privatization of private property, established, in accordance with the legislation, at the enterprises, institutions and organizations.

Article 19. Participation in the Bodies of Collective Management of Enterprises

A trade union, by a decision of a general assembly of the workers, shareholders, partners may have its representatives in the bodies of collective management of an enterprise (supervisory, advisory boards and etc.), in accordance with the legislation.

Article 20. Right to Protect the Interests of the Workers and to Represent Them in Labour Dispute Settlement Bodies

A trade union shall have the right to:

a) in order to protect the rights of the members of a trade union, in accordance with the legislation, - bring an action to, lodge an application with and appear before the court or other bodies concerned which examine labour disputes;

b) render legal assistance to trade union members;

c) establish legal departments and legal advice offices within the framework of their structures.

Article 21. Relations of a Trade Union with an Employer, Association (Union, Federation) of Employers, Bodies of the Executive Authority, Local Self-Governing Bodies and Other Representative Bodies

1. Relations of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions with an employer, association (union, federation) of employers, bodies of executive authority, local self-governing bodies shall be regulated on the basis of social partnership, collective agreements (contracts) concluded between them in accordance with the legislation.

2. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall be entitled, in cooperation with other social partners and in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation, to take part in managing state foundations (companies), which are established at the expense of insurance contributions of the workers.

3. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions shall have the right, on the basis of mutual agreement, to implement, in conjunction with the bodies of the executive authority and self-governing bodies, an employer, association (union, federation) of employers, other voluntary associations, joint measures on the matters related to their statutory tasks, in accordance with the legislation.

4. Various representative (elected) bodies which are available at the enterprises, organizations cannot be used to limit lawful activity of the trade unions.

5. The State shall assist the trade unions in carrying the tasks, provided for by their statutes.

Chapter III. Guarantees of the Rights of the Trade Unions

Article 22. Guarantees of the Financial and Property Rights of a Trade Union

1. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, in accordance with their own statute, shall own and dispose of the property and financial resources, generated by them. The property and financial resources of a trade union shall be inviolable. No one shall be entitled to dispose of, confiscate or transfer its property and financial resources, without the consent by a collective (elected) body, provided for by the Statute, with the exception for the cases, established by the legislation.

2. The financial resources of a trade union shall be formed of the membership fees, voluntary contributions, donations, financial means generated from the cultural and educational, sporting and recreational, publishing, as well as entrepreneurial (economic) activities and other legal incomes. A trade union shall be entitled, in accordance with the procedure established by the legislation, to receive from foreign states the financial resources and other property in order to carry out its statutory tasks.

3. A trade union may have in its ownership: enterprises, means of production, transportation and communication facilities, buildings, installations, apartment houses, cottages, recreational, medical, cultural and educational, sporting and children's institutions, objects of material and physical culture, money, securities, as well as other movables and real estate, required to carry out its statutory tasks.

4. A trade union shall be entitled, in accordance with the procedure established by the law, to be engaged in entrepreneurial (economic) activities through the enterprises, institutions and organizations, created by it.

5. The incomes, received from the entrepreneurial (economic) activities, shall be used only for the implementation of the statutory tasks, and they cannot be distributed among the members of a trade union, member organizations of an association (federation) of trade unions.

6. A trade union shall define independently the procedure and the ways of the utilization of the available financial resources, property and material values, and it shall fix, on the basis of the available financial resources, the salary and the conditions of labour remuneration of trade union officials.

7. A trade union can organize charitable undertakings, insure their members and carry out other types of humanitarian activities in accordance with the legislation.

8. A trade union shall pay taxes from the incomes, generated from entrepreneurial (economic) activities in accordance with the procedure and in the amount, established by the law.

9. The incomes, received from the membership fees, voluntary contributions, donations, earmarked for the implementation of the statutory tasks of the trade unions, shall be exempt from taxes.

10. The deductions from the wages of the officials of a trade union to special funds shall be made in accordance with the same procedure as from the wages of the employees of the organizations financed from the budgetary sources.

11. The financial activities of a trade union, carried out in accordance with its statute, shall not be subject to the supervision of the state bodies, with the exception for the cases provided for by the legislation.

12. The procedure of the utilisation of the property and financial resources, remained after the liquidation of a trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, shall be defined by their statutes in accordance with the legislation.

Article 23. Protection Guarantees of Trade Union Officials Elected to a Trade Union Body and Engaged in Main Duty Work

1. An official elected to a body of a trade union and not released from his main duty work can be granted with free time within his working hours for carrying out his trade union duties and undergoing short-term training (upgrading), in accordance with the terms and conditions established by a collective agreement (contract).

2. An official elected to a body of a trade union or as a delegate of a trade union conference, congress, shall be released from work in order to take part in work of this body, in accordance with the terms and conditions established by a collective agreement (contract).

3. The dismissal of, transfer to another work or imposition of disciplinary penalty with regard to a chairman, member, trade union organizer and official of an elected trade union body, engaged in main duty work, shall not be allowed, on the initiative of an employer, without the preliminary consent of the trade union body concerned, with the exception for the cases provided for by the legislation.

Article 24. Protection Guarantees of a Released Trade Union Official Elected to a Trade Union Body

1. An official released from main duty work due to his election to a trade union body, on the expiry of the term of his elected office, shall be granted with the preferential right to get back to his previous work (position) or to be engaged in work (position of equal value.

2. The dismissal, on the initiative of an employer, of a trade union official, elected to a trade union body, within one year after the expiry of his elected office, shall not be allowed, with the exception for the cases provided for by the legislation.

3. The time of work of a released trade union official in an elected trade union body shall be included into the total length of his service.

4. A person elected to a trade union committee of an enterprise, institution, organization and released from main duty work, in accordance with the conditions provided for by a collective agreement (contract), shall enjoy the social and labour rights established for the workers concerned of this enterprise, institution, organization.

Article 25. Obligations of an Employer with Regard to Creation of the Conditions for Carrying out Activities by a Trade Union

1. An employer, administration of an enterprise, institution, organization should create, within the limits of the available material and financial resources, the conditions required for carrying out activities by a trade union, provide a primary trade union organization, in the line of duty, with the premises, equipment, communications means at the expense of an enterprise, institution, organization.

2. The creation of other additional material conditions for the activities of a trade union, functioning at an enterprise, institution, organization, shall be regulated by a collective agreement or contract.

3. An employer, administration of an enterprise, institution, organization, on the basis of a written application of a worker-member of a trade union, shall make monthly transfers of trade union membership fees from the wages of this worker to an account of a trade union, in accordance with the conditions provided for by a collective agreement.

Chapter IV. Protection of the Rights of a Trade Union and Responsibility

Article 26. Protection of the Rights of a Trade Union

1. The State shall ensure the protection of the rights of the trade unions, in accordance with the legislation.

2. The cases of the violation of the rights, granted to a trade union by the legislation in force, shall be examined by the court.

Article 27. Responsibility for the Violation of the Rights of a Trade Union

1. The responsibility for the violation of this Law shall become effective in accordance with the legislation of Georgia.

2. A trade union, association (federation) of trade unions, trade union committee, trade union member shall be entitled, in accordance with the legislation, to raise a question and lodge a claim (complaint) with the court on the responsibility of the officials, who violate this Law, normative and other legal acts on trade unions and do not observe the obligations, provided for by a general, sectoral (tariff) agreements and collective contracts.

Article 28. Responsibility of a Trade Union

The leaders of a trade union and its bodies shall bear responsibility, in accordance with the legislation, for the non-observance of the obligations, provided for by this Law, normative and other legal acts on trade unions, a general, sectoral (tariff) agreements and collective contracts, and for organizing and holding mass manifestations of protest, which were declared illegal by the court.

Chapter V. Final Provisions

Article 29. Putting the Law into Effect

This Law shall come into effect after its publication.

President of Georgia Eduard Shevarnadze

Tbilisi
2 April 1997
No. 617-IIs