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Will there be “Shorter Holidays” for Staff of Nursery Schools, or NOT?

Nona Suvariani, Tbilisi

The personnel of nursery schools will have shorter holidays. The directors of the Tbilisi nursery schools received letters from Tbilisi City Hall Social and Culture Department and the directors understood the letter as information about reduced holidays. However, the officials of the City Hall state they had made mistake while writing the letters and claim that the length of the holiday will be based according to the law.

Several days ago, Social and Culture Department of the Tbilisi City Hall sent out letters to the directors of Tbilisi based nursery schools where Mamuka Katsarava, the head of the department informed them that “based on Article 21 and 22 of the Georgian Code of Labor and according to the specifics of the nursery schools the personnel of the kindergartens will have the holiday of one month-from July 10 to August 10, 2008.” The Trade Union of Scientists and Teachers learned about the innovation from the directors and teachers of the kindergartens. On July 8 the chairperson and lawyers of the Trade Union stated at the press conference that the length of holiday mentioned in the letter contradicts Georgian Labor Law.

Maia Liparteliani, lawyer for the Independent Trade Union of Scientists and Teachers, stated that Mamuka Katsarava was not authorized to send out such letters. The employers and employees should estimate the length of holidays themselves.

According to the Article 21 of the Code of Labor (mentioned in the letters sent by the City Hall) “an employee has right to enjoy paid holiday-not less than 24 working days a year.” However, in the mentioned letter, only 22 working days-between July 10 to August 10 are provided.

Natali Koridze, lawyer for the Trade Union states that the personnel of the nursery schools have always had holidays with lasting for 36 working days.

“It is strange why they decided to amend the length of the holiday because they have similar conditions and obligations. August is the period when children are not attending nursery schools and nurses, teachers and cooks do not have to do anything. The letter should have been a kind of recommendation but its tone did not resemble a recommendation at all.”

Teachers of various nursery schools attended the press-conference. They claimed that 22 working days are not enough for a teacher to have a proper rest.

Maia Tsereteli, teacher of the Nursery School # 31: “Sometimes we have nearly 40 children in one group. Can you imagine what an exhausting job we are doing? 22 days are not enough for a teacher to have a proper rest and start working the new school year with renewed energy”

Manana Ghurchumelidze, the chairperson of the Trade Union stated that according to the international norms the before-school education is ordinary educational institution. Based on UN and UNESCO recommendations the personnel of those institutions are teachers too. Consequently, they should enjoy the same advantages as teachers of public schools. Teachers of public schools have holidays of 48 working days but nurses of kindergartens should have holiday of 36 days in length.

“We must remember that these people do very hard and responsible job. Despite that they do not have any advantages at all. The state does not apportion funds for their insurance or for raising their qualifications.”
“Besides that we have information that on August 19 when teachers will return to nursery schools their employment agreements will be ceased and they will take the same kind of tests as the directors of the nursery schools have already taken.”

“When we were involved in a similar process in Batumi the teachers of nursery schools collected signatures and requested 24-day-holiday instead of 36 days.”

Alongside shortened holidays the personnel of nursery schools will receive a lower level of salary for their holidays. An accountant of one of the nursery schools stated that before teachers received 262 GEL for 36 days but now they would receive 174 GEL for 22 days. Thus, teachers will receive 87 GEL leas salary this summer.

Manana Ghurchumelidze: “We will enjoy our legal rights and try to create serious problems for those people who intend to leave teachers without money in summer.”

 The Human Rights Center contacted the department of the City Hall which distributed the above-mentioned letter. They explained that mistakes were made while printing the letters and everything will be corrected according to the law.

Murtaz Sichinava, assistant to the Chairperson of the Social and Culture Department within the Tbilisi City Hall: “Our people wrote one month in the letter and they did not foresee weekends too. Moreover, the letter did not carry the weight of legal force. The directors should explain those letters to their personnel according to the law. The salary will also be distributed according to the law. Finally, nobody will lose anything that legally belongs to him or her.”


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