Georgian social workers go on strike, demand increased salaries
Strike of social workers in Georgia
About 390 social workers went on strike in Georgia, demanding a 100% wage increase, travel allowance and health insurance. Social agents say they do not agree to the conditions proposed by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and intend to continue the fight.
The day before the strike of employees of the Social Services Agency, the Ministry of Health announced a salary increase. The agency reports that the salaries of social agents and agency employees will increase starting from February.
“In recent months, as a result of consultations with the Social Services Agency, a decision was made to increase the fixed salary of social agents by 60%, making it 400 lari [approx. 130 dollars] instead of 250 lari [approx. 80 dollars] and 700 lari [approx. 227 dollars] instead of 550 lari [approx. $180] for a senior social agent. Also, within the framework of visits to families, social agents will receive 10 lari [approx. 3.2 dollars] instead of 6 lari [approx. $2] per each completed declaration”, the ministry said in a statement.
According to the new Minister of Health Zurab Azarashvili, the increased salaries of social agents are adequate to their functions and workload.
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There are currently more than 125,000 socially unprotected children in Georgia, under the supervision of the Social Services Agency.
In addition to children, the agency is also involved in helping the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups. The system traces beneficiaries through social workers, studies their problems, needs and seeks solutions accordingly.
People in the field—experts, psychologists, and social workers themselves—constantly talk about the crisis and deficiencies of the existing system.