Georgia: New Sectorial Agreement Between Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia and Ministry of Education and Science


Changes in the Georgian legislation had made amendments and reviews necessary of the 1998 Sectoral Agreement between the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MoES) and the Educators’ and Scientists’ Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG). In 2006 ESFTUG officially appealed to the Ministry to draft a new version of the agreement, the Ministry ignored the appeal and refused to negotiate.

The same year, ESFTUG filed a case against the illegal decision of the Ministry of Education in the Tbilisi City Court, which ruled in favour of the trade union and obliged the Ministry to “launch the collective negotiations with the ESFTUG in order to sign the Sectoral Agreement”. Nonetheless, instead of taking up negotiations, the Ministry of Education openly started repressions against ESFTUG which lasted for three years.

Only after the Parliamentary elections in October 2012 could ESFTUG begin to re-establish the organisation and cooperation with the Ministry, opening officially the process of negotiations on a new Sectorial Agreement in February 2016.
The first working meeting with the Ministry of Education and Science took place on 17 August 2016. At the meeting, the Head of the ESFTUG Legal Department presented a first draft of the Sectorial Agreement based on Georgian legislation and international legal documents such as the ILO 87 and 98 Conventions, the European Social Charter, the ILO/UNESCO (1966) recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, the ILO/ UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel.

The main principles of the Sectoral Agreement are the following: compliance with the legislation, equality of the parties, voluntary nature of the commitments, monitoring the fulfillment of duties, negotiation process, agreement on socio-economic and legal professional rights and interests of workers at the educational and research institutions to ensure access to quality education.

Sectoral Agreement established principles of cooperation and social dialogue between the Ministry and ESFTUG, namely, mutual respect in the negotiations, avoidance of conflicts or disputes between the parties, and development of social dialogue at various levels. Also, the Ministry ensures the trade union’s participation in the legislative work on the protection of rights and interests of education, research and pre-school institution employees, as well as ESFTUG’s participation in the drafting and discussion of labour, socio-economic, legal, and professional legislation.

Both parties approved the final version of the Agreement which both parties are due to sign (the original date of signature was the end of September 2016). ESFTUG welcomes the Ministry’s commitment to broaden the joint partnership with the trade union and considers the signing of the new Sectorial Agreement a proof of the development of democratic processes in Georgia.