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Georgia court rules labour inspections must be public

17 October 2017
Miners from Tkibuli protesting for a ‘better labour code. February 2017 (Luka Pertaia/ OC Media)

Georgia’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, has ruled not publishing the results of labour inspections to be unconstitutional.

Once the government passes new legislation to comply with the judgement, the results of all labor inspections will be publicly accessible.

Tbilisi-based rights group the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre (EMC) and Ertoba 2013, a railway drivers union, had appealed to the court against a government decree.

On 13 October, the Court ruled that an the word ‘non-public’ in an article of a 2015 governmental decree about labour inspection was unconstitutional. The article obliged the department to prepare ‘non-public’ reports and conclusions about their inspection.

The government will now have to come up with an alternative wording for the decree.

The labour inspection mechanism was reintroduced in 2015 with the establishment of the Labour Inspection Department under Georgia’s Ministry of Georgia’s Health, Labor, and Social Affairs.

The department does not have the power to inspect workplaces without the prior consent of an employer, and recommendations issued following an inspection are not legally binding.

This has led to widespread criticism of the inspection mechanism by local rights groups including the EMC, as well as Georgia’s Public Defender.

[Read on OC Media: Fatal workplace accidents show ‘need for labour inspection reform’]

‘Abolishing the decree means that information about labour conditions important for the life and health of employees will be publicly accessible for employees and third persons’, the EMC said.