PM Ivanishvili said on May 7 that he was against of Justice Ministry-proposed amendments to the labor code, which the Parliament has already passed with its first reading, and called against “tipping scales in favor” of employees and adopting such legislation that may “scare off investors”.
Ivanishvili said that existing labor code “is terrible” and it should be amended, but not in a way envisaged by the current bill, which, he said, was giving “excessively more rights” to employees.
He also said that he “fully” shared criticism of the proposed bill voiced recently by Education Minister and Deputy PM Giorgi Margvelashvili.
“Actually all the possible rights can be given to an employee and it is normal, but we should stay in touch with reality and we should not forget that… the greatest injustice that we are now facing is that Georgian citizens cannot find jobs; total unemployment is the biggest problem for our country. Business, investors are those who can employee people; so if we tip scales in favor of opposite side and give excessive rights to employees… we will eventually remain in unemployment,” Ivanishvili told journalists in Batumi after meeting leadership of Adjara autonomous republic.
“I told [GD] parliamentarians about my stance over this issue; I told them that when there is a debate about… what kind of labor code we should have and whether there should be 50/50 [in rights between employers and employees] or in favor of which side scales should be tipped – in favor of an employee or an employer, my position is that it should be in favor of employers… At this stage we should be in favor of employers in order for investors to have desire to invest,” the Prime Minister said.
“What we should do at this stage is to create human conditions for employees, but not to discourage investors. I absolutely agree with Margvelashvili when he criticizes the draft that [was passed by the Parliament] with its first reading and I have talked about it with lawmakers. We can create the best possible labor code and be proud of it, but if we scare off investors the major problem, that is unemployment, will remain unresolved,” Ivanishvili said.
Echoing concerns voiced by the business lobby groups, Education Minister and Deputy PM Giorgi Margvelashvili said last week that the Justice Ministry-proposed amendments would fail to guarantee “balanced” employee-employer relations and would encourage “shadow employment.”
Responding to Margvelashvili’s remarks, Deputy Justice Minister, Alexander Baramidze, who was actively involved in drafting of the bill, said on May 3: “This is Georgian Dream voters’ dream labor code, which is fully in line with those promises, which the Georgian Dream gave to voters during its pre-election campaign.”
“This is the labor code, which guarantees balance in rights and obligations of employers and employees and it is in full compliance with Georgia’s international commitments,” Baramidze added.