Batumi Seaport has released a special statement regarding the employees’ protests. We introduce this statement without changes:
In the morning of April 2, 2018 a group of 50 employees of Batumi Seaport gathered at the administration building of Batumi Seaport and expressed protests against measures that the company has taken for financial and economic stabilization.
The seaport administration offered the rally participants, as part of mediation procedures, to start negotiations on the same day and discuss the relevant issues jointly with the seaport trade union.
Eight protesters went on hunger strike on April 2. The seaport administration ensured a supply of water and medications to the hunger strikers, as well as continuous service of medical brigades. Medical workers examine health condition of hunger strikers in every 30 minutes.
Several days before the rally, namely on March 29, the seaport administration received an address by the trade union employees, where the following issues were named for immediate resolution:
1) Restoration of fired workers, under agreement between the Parties;
2) Issuing financial aids in relation to the coming Holiday;
3) revision of insurance package;
4) suspension of optimization process in the seaport, including a suspension of further transmission of noncore directions to outsourcing.
5) increasing wages to the seaport employees.
The seaport administration has given comprehensive response to the trade union regarding the mentioned issues.
At the same time, the seaport administration says that its objective is to ensure peaceful and crisis-resolving business environment. Consequently, the administration is ready to make all available concessions to the employees and the trade union, despite unfavorable financial-economic conditions. Namely, the process of firing employees has been suspended; the process of transmitting certain noncore directions to outsourcing has been suspended; a single-time financial aid has been issued in relation to the coming Holiday.
The seaport administration has provided maximum measures in relation to the employees. The administration believes that it was not necessary to stage similar protest rallies, because the company is always oriented on maximum promotion of employees. Therefore, we have doubts that the rallies may be manipulated and motives for protection of the employee’s interests may have been misused by several interested bodies.
The real situation in the company is as follows: starting the end of 2017, the seaport administration is taking special measures to stabilize financial -economic situation in the company.
According to the 2017 indicators, volume of oil cargoes declined by 36% as compared to 2016 (from 3.6 million ton/year to 2.3 million ton/year).
Forecast volumes of the oil cargoes for 2018 is 1.1 million tons. Downturn was preconditioned by the changed structure in oil and oil products transportation market. Moreover, the seaport’s net profits in 2017 made up 0.9 million USD, down 86% as compared to the 2016 indicators.
Based on the seaport’s current financial and economic conditions, in 2017 the management took decision to shrink costs on raw materials and materials by 44% and dismiss 63% of foreign specialists. At the same time, labor contracts were terminated to several employees near the retirement age, after negotiations and mutual agreement. The company has paid 3-month wages and maintained medical insurance services to them up to the end of 2018.
The seaport administration continues permanent meetings with the personnel and trade union regarding the current developments in the company and future plans for optimization of expenditures.
Batumi Oil Terminal, the seaport managing company and the seaport management is taking all measures to resolve the existing situation through negotiations.
Moreover, to discuss the unresolved issues, we offer the rally participants to set up a joint group as part of mediation and other legally applicable instruments, the Batumi seaport administration’s statement reads.