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Deputy Minister of Justice, Aleksandre Baramidze, stated the following at the plenary session held on 12 June 2013:

“There is a requirement of the International Labour Organization whose members we are and whose conventions we are adhered to (we are talking about fundamental conventions), that unjustifiable dismissal of an employee is prohibited.”

FactCheck

wondered about the accuracy of Aleksandre Baramidze’s statement.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) was established as an agency of the League of Nations at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Since 1946, the Organisation has been operating as a United Nations specialised agency. Its main activity is to establish labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations.

As of 2013, 178 countries are members of the ILO. Alongside government officials, trade unions and entrepreneurs in the Member States are also involved in the organisation. In order to regulate  labour relations, the list of International Labour Organization Conventions amounts to 190 laws. From the 190 Conventions in total, ratification of eight fundamental Conventions is mandatory for every Member. Ratification of other Conventions is not mandatory. It is up to the Member State legislature (Parliament) to decide which Conventions it regards as appropriate and necessary. It should be noted that the Organization publishes Recommendations which explain in detail the legal implications of each Article of the Convention. Recommendations are non-binding for the Members. Georgia joined the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1993. As of 2013, Georgia has ratified 16 Conventions. Recommendation No. 166 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which refers to Convention No. 158,

notes the rule of termination of employment. Article 4 and Article 5 of Convention No. 158 are explained in the Recommendation which articulates the necessity of providing valid reasons and justification for termination of employment, namely:

  • The employment of a worker shall not be terminated unless there is a valid reason for such termination;
  • The employer is required to provide justification for the dismissal of a worker.

The Recommendation notes that currently five countries are not following these requirements. These states are: the United States, Austria, Georgia, Japan and Zambia. According to these Recommendations, however, all of these states have protection mechanisms to prevent the unjustified and unfair dismissal of an employee.

As we have already mentioned, Georgia has ratified only 16 Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Among them we cannot find Convention No. 158 which regulates the termination of employment.

However, the new Labour Code of Georgia, which was adopted with its third reading by the Parliament on 12 June 2013, provides the part of Recommendation No.166 of the ILO which regulates the termination of an employment contract.

Article 38 of the new Labour Code regulates the termination of employment. According to it:

  • The employer is required to terminate employment of a worker based on the reasons provided by the law;
  • An employee has a right to send written notice to the employer requesting the justification of the termination of an employment contract within seven calendar days of receiving notification about the termination of an employment contract from the employer;
  • The employer is required to provide written justification of the termination of an employment contract within seven days of receiving the request from an employee.
Conclusion

Georgia has not ratified Convention No. 158 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) which regulates the termination of employment. Correspondingly, Georgia does not have the obligation to act  in accordance with this Convention. However, the  new Labour Code of Georgia provides the part of Recommendation No.166 of the ILO which refers to Article 4 and Article 5 of Convention No. 158.

According to Article 4 and Article 5 of  Convention No. 158 of the ILO, the employer is required to provide valid reason for the termination of employment. Aleksandre Baramidze stated: “According to the Convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO), unjustified termination of employment is prohibited.”

It is true that the term “prohibited” is not mentioned in Convention No. 158; however, according to this Convention, the employer is required to provide justification. In the case of failure to comply with this rule, the basis for legal dispute between an employer and an employee can become an unjustified termination of employment.

Correspondingly, the statement by Aleksandre Baramidze is MOSTLY TRUE.

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