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Don’t rush to throw work records in the Kura River!28.10.2009 | 13:11
The Labor party of Georgia objects to the draft law on abolition of work records. As Iosif Shatberashvili, the party's secretary told GeorgiaTimes this is how the authorities want to obviate promises to bring pensions in compliance with the years of service and merits pretending that the Georgian Labor Code is approaching Western standards.
Doctors, teachers and other public employees of Georgia have been complaining about the laws discriminating their rights for a long time. Even Europe had to set forth an ultimatum to Tbilisi: either you modify the Labor Code or the country will be excluded from the EU's GSP+ trade incentive scheme.
There was nowhere to retreat and the deputies started adjusting amendments to the law contemplated by trade unions. The Association of Employers and foreign experts joined in the lawmaking process. By the end of November the draft amendment must be completed and submitted to parliament for consideration.
The purpose of this work, as Irakli Petriashvili, chief of United Trade Unions said, is removal of discriminatory articles from the Law on Labor like those that allow employers sack a person giving no reason why. The trouble is that together with these articles the authors of the draft law decided to get done with the work records...
It has to be mentioned that abolition of this "leftover of the Soviet epoch" as ex Economy Minister Kakha Bendukidze put it is welcomed by many politicians in the ex USSR. The Baltic states abandoned them long ago replacing them by Tax books and Social Insurance Books.
Work records in Russia will also lose any sense with the enactment of the pension reform initiated in 2002 based on the principle that the volume of pension will be determined by an employee's real salary and the amount of deductions to the Pension Fund and not the years of service as it used to be. But so far the older generation has their pensions paid the "old" way.
Cancellation of work records in Georgia is nothing more than new trickery, the laborists believe. So far this is the only document in the country that helps to determine years of service and labor merits of an employee, the party's secretary general Soso Shatberashvili told in an interview with GeorgiaTimes.
"During Mikheil Saakashvili's election campaign for presidency he promised (insistently demanded by the Labor Party) to provide all pensioners and labor veterans with the pension equivalent to USD 100. Now the amount is nearly USD 40 plus minor extras depending on the years of service and merits", - the Labor party leader said.
According to Shatberashvili recently Saakashvili stated that work records are Soviet or Russian documents and must be done away with.
"This explanation aroused resentment of all sober-minded people in Georgia who phoned to our office saying: by that logic we must get rid of Diplomas of higher education obtained before the arrival of Saakashvili in 2003? And all those who own them are Russian agents? It's an outrage!", - Shatberashvili says in indignation.
The government explains that the system of employment sheets and work records is obsolete, and the private sector has been going without them for a long time already. Besides, a duly filled in document with stamps and signatures does not cost much in Georgia.
If it's the fraud issue it has to be solved by introduction of protection levels. And abolition of work records, as the Laborists believe, will lead to cancellation of extra payments for the time in service and decrease in elderly people's income that is ridiculously low without that.
"For a long time in Georgia all pensioners received an equal pension of GEL 55 (nearly USD 25). But on our request a few months ago the government introduced extra payments. They are very small, it's true: GEL 2 for five years of service, GEL 10 for 15 years and so on. Now all that gets abolished. And nobody will be able to define a person's time in service without a work record", - Shatberashvili says.
Introducing certificates from employers, as the draft law authors suggest referring to the Western experience, many employees will simply be unable to find roots, the Labor party believes.
"Many Soviet enterprises where the pensioners could apply for a certificate are simply gone. Many archives were lost in 1991-1993 wars. And there are lots of companies in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia where Georgians are not allowed!"- GeorgiaTimes interlocutor remarked.
The Labor party doesn't mind bringing the Labor Code in line with the Western standards but not through discrimination of pensioners. "We must modify a number of provisions of the law. There is no vacation pay in Georgia, no maternity leaves. Our labor laws are slavish. We must introduce some state services existent in the West that nobody is going to nullify", - Shatberashvili underlined.
He says it doesn't mean "throwing work records in the Kura River". After all there can be some electronic files with information stored in them.
"We jumped from communism to capitalism, but our capitalism is wild, absolutely different from what they have in Sweden or Holland, and we must render it more civilized", - Shatberashvili thinks.