Georgia: IFJ/EFJ urge reinstatement of victimised union leader at GPB

Lasha Meskhi

The International and European Federation of Journalists, (IFJ) and (EFJ), have backed calls by the Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC) to reinstate a Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) journalist they claim has been victimised. Lasha Meskhi, chairman of the Georgian Media Trade Union representing workers at the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), was the only journalist out of 13 on short-term contracts who was dismissed after management announced on 28 February they would not renew his contract. He had recently been moved from a 3 month to one month contract. The GTUC described the dismissal as “discrimination because of his trade union activities”. Meskhi had been threatened by the management’s representatives following his criticisms of the Public Broadcaster’s planned reorganisation that has led the staff to see worsening labor conditions following the introduction of short-term contracts that in some cases violated the Georgian labor law, the GTUC reported, adding that they were planning to challenge such violations in Court and via the Public Defender’s office. “As a result of the effectiveness of the trade union, which led to increased salaries for 500 workers within the Public Broadcaster back in June 2016, the management has unlawfully targeted our colleague Lasha Meskhi,” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “We urge the management to reinstate him and stop harassing trade union leaders as a matter of urgency.”

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