The Georgian Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the government's ratification of the International Labour Organisation convention on tripartite consultation. The GTUC says that it had been pushing for this for many years and it should now provide the basis to develop social dialogue in the country. However, unions there continue to face major challenges not least the failure of the government to re-establish an effective labour inspection regime. Some 460 workers have died and 796 have been injured since the labour inspectorate was abolished in 2006.
Step forward on consultation but not on health and safety
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After 4½ weeks on strike, members of the ver.di services union in Lower Saxony have fought off attempts by local authority employers to introduce a 40-hour working week. Overall the 120,000 council employees in the region will have a 38.9-hour working week with different arrangements for some groups of workers. Those working in childcare, hospitals or for public enterprises such as refuse disposal will be on a 38.5-hour work plus extra training days. Other workers will be on the 39-hour week as agreed in the main public sector agreement which came into force last year. Meanwhile in the Baden