Agriculture employs almost the booklet of Georgians. In the industry, only a tenth of all employees work. Others work in the service sector. The statutory weekly working time is 41 hours.
Unemployment is still high, especially in cities, and wages are low. A large number of people gain their livelihood by working black in the informal sector.
More and more women are entering the labor market. Women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs and they generally earn less than their male counterparts. Almost half of all employees belong to a trade union.
A labor law law that was adopted in 2006 has been criticized for allowing arbitrary redundancies or threats of dismissal in practice. In 2010, the UN agency ILO called on the government to ban the possibility of dismissing employees for joining the union. The EU also criticized restrictions on the right to collective bargaining and the right to form free trade unions. In 2012, employees went on strike in a number of workplaces for higher pay and better conditions. The strikes were partly interpreted as a way of testing the new government’s attitude on labor market issues. The ILO judged in 2019 that the development has been positive for several years; Georgia has in many ways improved the application of labor laws and compliance with international agreements in this area.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of key population facts of Georgia, covering most basic population data, religion statistics, and language profiles.
Growing tourism is absorbing part of the labor force. In 2018, 42 percent of Georgians were active in agriculture, according to the ILO. Professional fishing employed only a few hundred.
Russia’s dependence on migrant work has diminished. The money transfers from Georgians working in EU countries have been larger since 2018 than the transfers from those living in Russia.
FACTS – LABOR MARKET
14.2 percent (2019)
30.9 percent (2019)
Police action against protesters
Police disband the protesters’ camp outside Parliament. 37 people are arrested and six injured. A representative of the Georgian dream warns opponents of the ruling party that the authorities will provide an “adequate response” if the “destructive process” continues.
No to proportional selection system
The Georgian dream of the ruling party and its strong man Bidzina Ivanishvili are accused of having failed to fulfill their promises to introduce a proportional electoral system, when a proposal for amendments to the electoral law is already voted down in Parliament (see June 24 and August 5). The opposition responds with anger and rallies to protests at Parliament for several days in a row. The opposition believes that the current electoral system favors Georgian dream, which has ruled the country since 2012. Critics demand that the government resign and that new elections are announced.
Protests against movie with gay theme
When the Swedish-Georgian feature film “And then we danced” is to be shown to audiences in Tbilisi and Batumi, there will be demonstrations with elements of violence outside cinemas. Conservative nationalists object to the film depicting a love story between two men. The Georgian Orthodox Church has also criticized the film, which is directed by Levan Akin and recorded in Georgia with Georgian actors. About 30 protesters are arrested.
Georgian sites are hacked
Georgia is subject to a massive cyber attack. Among the approximately 2,000 internet sites that are hacked by hackers are those belonging to the president, courts and the media. An image of President Micheil Saaksjavili with the text “I’ll be back” appears on the sites. The broadcasts from several TV channels are also interrupted briefly. Several authorities are investigating the attacks.
Russia is gearing up in Abkhazia
Russian President Vladimir Putin announces via decree that the military forces in the Abkhazian republic will be modernized, at Russian expense.
Leader of the breaker republic re-elected
The Aboriginal Republic of Abkhazia is holding the second and decisive round of elections in a presidential election that is dismissed as a joke from the Georgian side. Seated leader Raul Chadzhimba is declared victorious. Alchaz Kvitsinia, who is described as an opposition leader, appeals. At the beginning of 2020, it is decided that the election will be made again.
Contested election of new prime minister
Parliament unanimously elected Giorgi Gakharia as new prime minister, after the opposition boycotted the vote. He is elected on a proposal by Georgian dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili. Gakharia is controversial when he, as Minister of the Interior, received criticism from the opposition for the police’s strike against Russia-critical demonstrations (see June 20, 2019). Opposition supporters call Gakharia “Moscow’s man in Tbilisi” and demonstrate on Tbilisi’s streets.
The Prime Minister resigns
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze leaves the post of head of government after only one year. The reason is likely to have lost the support of Bidzina Ivanishvili, a politically influential businessman and billionaire. Ivanishvili founded the party Georgian dream, which Bakhtadze belongs to.
Dangerous conditions in the mines
The working environment is so dangerous that miners in Georgia risk their health, Human Rights Watch writes in a report. Long shifts with few hours of recovery in between are one of the problems. In 2006, labor market legislation was changed and inspections of the working environment were abolished. Between 2007 and 2017, the number of work-related deaths in the country increased by 74 percent, according to the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a think-tank that is linked to the German Social Democracy but cites statistics from the Georgian Ministry of the Interior. The deaths were highest in the mining industry and the construction industry. In 2015, a work environment inspection was reintroduced, with limited powers.
Laws are changed before the next election
Artjil Talakvadze, President of Parliament, presents amendments to the Constitution and the electoral law to be implemented in accordance with the promises of Bidzina Ivanishvili. At the Midsummer Day, when the country was shaken by demonstrations, the Georgian Dream leader promised that a proportional electoral system would be introduced in time for the 2020 parliamentary elections.
Loans to disputed transport route
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approves a $ 415 million loan for a road project through Georgia, which also receives development loans from Europe through the bank EBRD. It is about a stretch of road with several tunnels and bridges, which in particular will simplify truck transport through the mountainous country and at the same time promote trade between Russia (Europe) and Iran (Asia). Construction will start in 2020, but the project has opponents. The road will be drawn through the spectacular Khada Valley, where, among other things, there are medieval towers of archaeological interest.
Ex-minister with new party arrested
Irakli Okruashvili, leader of the newly formed Segerrika Georgia party and former defense minister, is arrested in Tbilisi. According to the Home Office, he is suspected of crimes in connection with an attempt to storm Parliament in June. Okruashvili had some stormy years in Georgian politics in conjunction with Micheil Saakashvili’s time as president and is then reported to have lived in exile in France.
Parliamentarians are threatened by charges of mass protests
Nika Melia, opposition MP and member of the president of the United National Movement, Micheil Saakashvili’s party, is suspected of being fired after the mass protests in Georgia’s parliament. Parliament makes the Prosecutor’s Office at will and revokes Melia’s indictment so that he can be arrested. He is released on bail but faces nine years in prison.
Russian press against Georgian wines
In Russia, which is the largest Georgian wine market, the Federal Consumer Agency Rospotrebnadzor says it has noted that the quality of Georgian wines has deteriorated. Tighter controls have been introduced on all alcoholic beverages imported from Georgia.
Promise: New election system will be announced soon
The 2020 parliamentary elections will be conducted with a proportional electoral system, announces the strong man of the ruling party Bidzina Ivanishvili. He also says that the block for small parties (now at least five percent of the vote) should be removed. Parliament has already decided in 2017 that a proportional system should be introduced, but according to that decision, the system will only be applied in 2024. However, the government-critical demonstrators are not content with the promises of the new electoral system. They also demand the departure of the Interior Minister and the release of arrested protesters.
Protests against Russia and demands for new elections
In connection with an annual meeting of MPs from Christian Orthodox countries, the Russian communist Sergei Gavrilov will give speeches from the President’s seat in the Georgian parliament. The reactions are getting fierce, both in the provost parliament and outside. Demonstrations erupt against Russia and against the Georgian Dream Party and its founder Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is accused of backing the country and weakening the democratic institutions. The billionaire is designated as a puppet for the regime in Moscow. Several hundred people are arrested and many injured. President Putin stops air travel between Russia and Georgia, the stop will come into force on July 8. The street protests continue for several days, demanding that the Georgian government resign. Opposition forces want to see changes in the electoral law and new elections.
Approaching Armenia and Georgia
The UN General Assembly votes on the right of Georgian internal refugees to return to Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Armenia (like Russia) usually votes against, but this time abstains. It is interpreted as the countries have agreed not to vote against each other. A few days before the UN vote, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan said in an interview that he hopes that in the future, rail services between Armenia and Russia will be restored via Georgia.
Saakajsvili back in Ukraine
Micheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia and former governor of Ukraine, is back in Ukraine. Newly elected President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has decided to restore Saakashvili to the Ukrainian citizenship he was deprived of after becoming disloyal with President Poroshenko. On his return to Ukraine, Saakashvili says that he is ready to continue the work of “building the country” that he devoted himself to as governor of Odessa. Even in Georgia, where he is still contentious, there are supporters who want Saakashvili back.
Georgian passports for Saudi dishes
Two Saudi sisters who sought asylum in Georgia to escape family and law checks in their home country say they have received Georgian passports. Since the sisters have pleaded for support via social media, 40,000 people have signed on to name-gathering for them and a human rights organization has taken them on. Saudi Arabia has canceled their passports. The sisters state that they will settle in a third country. The Georgia Department of the Interior does not comment on their case, citing confidentiality in asylum cases. Similar cases have been noticed in other countries in the past year.
Allows ads in conflict zones
The international brokerage firm Airbnb has changed its guidelines for those who want to rent a private home. The company will now allow ads for housing in controversial areas such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia, held by Russian-backed separatists. If the ads generate Airbnb revenue, then the money should be donated to charity. This is the result of a lawsuit on the West Bank (occupied by Israel). There, Jewish settlers who were not allowed to advertise on leasing have sued the company.
NATO tightens up action against Russia
The foreign ministers from the NATO countries, gathered in Washington in connection with the 70th anniversary of the alliance, have made decisions with reference to Russian “aggression”. The Alliance will expand its scouting operations and hold military exercises in the Black Sea in support of Ukraine and Georgia, both of which want to become NATO members and have Russian-backed separatist forces within their borders. According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, NATO will also study strategies for responding to non-conventional warfare, in the light of Russia being accused, among other things, of trying to influence democratic elections in Western countries.
The promise of NATO membership is repeated
Georgia will be admitted as a member state of NATO, defense secretary general Jens Stoltenberg testifies in connection with a military exercise on Georgian soil. In spite of opposition from Moscow, it is a clear position of the NATO countries that “continues to prepare Georgia’s membership”, in Stoltenberg’s words. Georgia’s future as a member country was already selected at a 2008 NATO summit, but no timetable has been set. In the 12-day exercise, both member countries and partner countries participate in NATO.
Tried to sell uranium to dirty bomb
the 13th of March
Two Georgian men have been arrested in a Black Sea resort. They are said to have tried to sell 40 grams of radioactive uranium-238 for $ 2.8 million and risk ten years in prison. The uranium is described as unsuitable for producing nuclear weapons, however, it could be used for a so-called dirty bomb, a common explosive charge that spreads radioactivity. In recent years, both Georgia and neighboring Armenia have come up with their own citizens trying to sell radioactive material from former Soviet nuclear facilities.
Measles vaccine from Armenia
Armenia will provide Georgia with 30,000 doses of measles vaccine. During an outbreak of measles in Georgia, in particular, adults who were not vaccinated in the 1990s are said to have fallen ill. The spread of infection in Georgia has slowed since the authorities launched a vaccination campaign, from up to 60 to 35 new cases per day. The last time Armenia had a domestic measles case was 2007.
Russia is criticized for deportation
Russia receives court criticism for mass deportation of Georgian citizens in connection with a 2006 spy dispute. According to the European Court of Human Rights, Russia must also pay damages to over 1,500 Georgians who were exiled; many were also imprisoned without legal basis. The ruling, which is final, confirms conclusions in the 2014 case. The deportations occurred in a situation when Georgia sought closer relations with Western powers and a conflict with Russia was escalating over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which later broke away from Georgia with Russian support..
New rules: children must be vaccinated
A compulsory vaccination program takes effect. Children will be vaccinated against, among other things, polio and measles according to the new rules, which are based on legislative changes adopted in November 2018. Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children will not be punished, but if the proportion of vaccinated does not rise sharply as a result of the mandatory rules, it may impose criminal measures, the chairman of the parliamentary committee responsible for health care states. Georgia was one of the countries where measles spread in 2018. More than 1,300 disease cases and two deaths were reported from January to August, according to the country’s infection control authority.