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The News in Brief

Wednesday, September 5
GPB Employees Protest Against New Contract Terms

Several dozen employees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) gathered in front of the television headquarters on September 3 to protest against the TV management’s decision to change the terms of their employment foreseeing the transfer from full time to zero hour contracts.

The new offer, signed by Vasil Maglaperidze, GPB’s General Director, will also entail transition from fixed to hourly reimbursement and will concern approximately 150 employees of the publicly-funded television, according to the GPB Trade Union, which organized the rally today.

The trade union said the new contract terms would worsen the“living and working conditions” of the employees, with Nino Zautashvili, one of its members, stressing the decision was a way to dismiss the staff members. “Sacking a person based on the employer’s personal views only is very unprofessional,” she told

Irakli Mikiashvili, who has worked as a video editor at GPB for almost 25 years and who was among the protesters at today’s rally, told that he received the revised contract terms last Friday and was given only a four-day notice to agree or decline the proposal.

Mikiashvili explained that his current contract will be terminated if he decides to decline the offer. He also said the proposal does not specify the number of working hours, and that he doubted he would be called at all. “The TV management chose such a form to sack the employees,” he added.

Similar points were raised by the Coalition for Media Advocacy, a group of twelve rights watchdogs. The Coalition said GPB management’s decision was “unjustified” and that “it could be aimed at firing tens of employees.” It also urged the TV management to avoid “mass dismissals” and elaborate “fair and unbiased mechanisms for staff evaluations.”

The GPB management responded to the accusations in a statement today, saying the decision was part of its plans to address the problems of low job attendance and over-staffing.

“In certain administrative units the workload was either unevenly distributed or did not correspond to the work mode … as a result, there are excess working groups in the television, which does not meet the programming requirements and significantly increases our human resources,” the statement reads.

The GPB management also specified that the offer was made to approximately 70 staff members, rather than the 150 employees as reported by the GPB trade union.

CEC states on an attempt to disrupt of precincts election commission competitions

The Central Election Commission of Georgia has released a statement regarding the attempt to disrupt of precincts election commission competitions.

According to the statement, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia was informed that unidentified telephone calls were made to the several contestants of election precincts of Lanchkhuti District Election Commission (DEC). The information was delivered by the contestants to the CEC via Call Center and e-mail.

“According to the contestants, an unidentified person was contacting them by phone on behalf of “curator” and delivering them false information concerning the competition. It should be noted that the CEC has received the information on unclear phone calls from other DECs and persons participating in the Precinct Election Commission (PEC) competition.

The CEC has verified the telephone number provided by the contestants of Lanchkhuti DEC in its electronic database, which includes the information concerning the commission members, employees, party proxies, observers and other information. Regrettably, based on the CEC database, specific telephone number belongs to the representative of the political union “National Democratic Party” at the relevant election district, who was registered on August 26 as party proxy for the upcoming presidential election.

In addition, cases were identified at different election districts, when aiming possible provocation, an attempt to submit the applications by the contestants on behalf of the various officials were also observed. DECs were responding accordingly on the mentioned cases, that considers the explanation of the competition rule and the proceedings within the frames of the law.

Moreover, unidentified persons made calls the CEC employees requiring them to release the information incompatible with their activities.

Election Administration (EA) calls upon the political parties involved in elections not to go beyond their authorities and not try to mislead citizens participating in the competition, since it may damage the electoral environment.

The EA conducts its activities openly and transparently and every public information is available and issued in line with the law.

In addition, Election Administration urges local and international observers, media to actively monitor the ongoing electoral process and report each fact that will support to the process transparency, impartial evaluation and the credibility of elections,” the statement reads.