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Unemployment problems

By Messenger Staff
Friday, January 30
Unemployment rages in Georgia. Trade union representatives state that there were around 250,000 unemployed in Georgia in 2008. Today their number has increased by around 35,000, and most probably the official figure of registered unemployed will eventually reach 350,000.

Given these circumstances, the trade union movement is seeking to launch a legislative initiative and has started trying to collect enough signatures to allow it to be submitted to Parliament. The initiative would grant special allowances to the unemployed, financial compensation to those who lose their jobs and paid maternity leave.

The trade unions are demanding that these allowances should be paid at a rate equal to the minimum pension, which is GEL 55 at present. They say this amount should be paid to the unemployed for at least six months. By their estimation GEL 130 million would need to be set aside for this purpose, which could be accumulated by cutting Government and Parliamentary expenditure.

Georgia has the highest unemployment rate in post-Soviet countries, 13.3% of the employable population. By comparison Azerbaijanís is 1.2%, Uzbekistanís 0.2% and Belarusí 1%. If it provides any relief, it can however be noted that Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia have higher unemployment levels.