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Georgia: regime loyalty as a salary qualification05.06.2009 | 16:52
Some Georgian Post employees haven't received their salaries for already 5 months. They turned to the Labor party for help. As Laborists told Georgia Times salaries are denied to the post workers for their oppositional views.
Georgian Post employees haven't received their salaries for already a few months. Drivers, messengers and postmen waited for 2 months to get their honestly earned 85-100 lari while central office workers haven't seen their money for 5 months on end.
Paata Jibladze, Labor Party Executive Secretary told about the pitiful state of post workers at the press conference, - Business Georgia reports. He specified the despaired people sought help from the Labor Party adding that the pressure had been put on them to make them stay quiet and naturally prevent them from going to the protest actions. "Our co-citizens say the salaries might be delayed until August and in case of protest they are threatened with dismissal, - the Labor Party Secretary explained. He also said President Mikheil Saakashvili was aware of the situation.
Georgian Post employees are left without salaries, and superiors discriminate them, - Soso Shatberashvili, Labor Party Secretary General said in his interview with GeorgiaTimes. According to his information the salaries are held back to the employees who were seen taking part in the opposition rallies or expressing their discontent with the current government. They are threatened to be fired and oppositionists get sacked in the first place.
According to Soso Shatberashvili the official delay in salaries is explained by the lack of budget money. "Allegedly the treasury is empty because of opposition parties and their street rallies; not because of the August war the government launched", - Georgia Times interviewee noted.
However the back payments on salaries in Georgian Post could be connected with the company's losses. Lasha Zhvania, Minister of Economic Development told Reuters that in 2008 vs. prior period the losses had doubled amounting to 1.2 million lari. That is why now the government plans to prepare Georgian Post LLC for privatization and put it up for tender. "We think of attracting a professional foreign operator to run the state post system... Selecting a new owner we will first of all consider the volume of offered investments", - Zhvania said. He estimates the company might need around 30 mln dollars to make the postal service efficient.
This is what Shatberashvili replied to the question what the Labor party could do for the post workers now: "We addressed the authorities and the president urging him to take efficient measures together with the Finance Minister for the public sector employees to get their salaries. We have made this problem public".
Shatberashvili asserts many other employees paid from state budget are in a similar situation. Teachers that were told to forget about their salaries until August also turned to the Labor Party. The pretext is the same: the treasury is empty "because of protest actions".
This information was not confirmed in the Educators and Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia for Georgia Times. "We haven't heard anything of the coming arrears in salaries yet", - Nino Tarkhnishvili, the organization's PR manager said. Probably "yet" is a key word here. Saakashvili's government has two material reasons to act in such an unpopular way.
Firstly, as Laborists remark, nonpayment of salaries to Georgian Post affects the opposition-minded people. So it's a way to regulate the number of protesters at least among public employees.
Secondly Georgia's budget has not been executed on the income side for already two months. And instead of reducing expenses for officials the authorities seem to enjoy scrimping on teachers, postmen and other layers of the population depending on public funds. Many people in Georgia believe this was the reason why the government had recently lowered the value of minimum consumer basket.
But anti-people economic sanctions can push the people onto the streets though now their support for the opposition is only verbal. As expert Nodar Khaduri remarked in his interview with Georgia Times: if now there are no social demands put forward at the actions, they may appear quite soon. All the more the authorities expect the rise in unemployment rate according to yesterday's speech of Deputy Finance Minister Papuna Petriashvili.
On the whole the government looks very unpretty obtaining billions of dollars from abroad and being unable to settle with public employees - the lowest-paid staff.