The member organizations of the Georgia Fair Labor Platform express their solidarity with Georgia’s emergency room doctors, who have been protesting inadequate salaries since last summer. In the absence of a proper response from the state, the protests have intensified over the past few days.
Due to high inflation and the ever-growing cost of living in the country, the salaries of emergency room doctors and ambulance drivers – which reach up to 1,300 GEL – are inadequate to meet their basic needs. The doctors also toil in difficult conditions, systematically working long and difficult shifts. The current situation should alarm all of us, given the critical role these workers play in protecting our health.
The protests began in the summer of 2022, but the government has yet to provide an adequate response. Instead, they have focused on public relations and spin, presenting distorted salary figures (based on pre-tax earnings) that suggest doctors make far more than they actually do. The government has offered to raise overtime pay, but the workers say this move alone is grossly inadequate.
The state’s dismissive approach has only intensified the protests. Doctors and ambulance drivers recently spent the night in the administrative building of the Center for Coordination of Emergency Situations and Emergency Assistance, hoping more radical forms of protest might convince the state to pay attention.
The Fair Labor Platform supports the doctors participating in the protest. For years, our member organizations have worked to put the labor rights of medical workers on the political agenda. They already perform their jobs in difficult conditions as frontline workers; they should not face inadequate wages.
We, therefore, call on the Government of Georgia and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Protection to ensure that the demands of emergency room doctors and ambulance drivers to receive fair salaries are promptly met.
The following member organizations of the Fair Labor Platform endorse this statement:
- Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)
- Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)
- Social Justice Center
- Solidarity network