Unprecedented protests by workers at two of Georgia’s largest retailers are calling attention to the poor conditions under which many service-industry employees in the country work, advocates and experts say.
On February 7, employees at one of Georgia’s largest supermarket chains, Fresco, posted a statement on Facebook, describing the “exploitative conditions” under which they work. Two days later, employees at Biblius, Georgia’s largest chain of bookstores, followed suit with a similar video post. Both items went viral and were accompanied by real-life protests in front of shops across Tbilisi.
The protests, and the degree to which they resonated across Georgia, suggest a potentially major shift is underway in a sector that had previously been relatively quiescent, said Lina Gvinianidze, Social Rights Program Director at the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center.
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