Eka Beselia Promised Unemployed Drivers to Defend Their Rights
Inga Gvasalia, Poti
On August 13, Eka Beselia- majoritarian candidate of the coalition Georgian Dream in Poti, held special briefing in respond to the August 12 protest rally of the shipping car drivers. She promised them to support and defend their interests.
Eka Beselia gave one week time to the government to resolve the problem. According to the majoritarian candidate, because of the government’s senseless and unfair decision the drivers of shipping companies have faced problems for two months.
“The business is absolutely monopolized in Georgia by Saakashvili. He owns 100% of the Georgian railway together with his team (Nika Gilauri’s foundation). As a result of it, hundreds of drivers are left in the street now. These drivers have been standing in the street for two months and try to defend their rights. Most of them took loans, bought cars to transport cargoes. They honestly paid taxes. But now they cannot pay credits as government seized them all chance to transport cargoes. In parallel to it, transporters from neighboring countries convey goods via Georgia without any obstacles. I appeal to the government to meet these people. Families stand behind those people and they will die of hunger because they have no another income except this,” Eka Beselia stated at the special briefing on August 13.
Eka Beselia added that the coalition Georgian Dream will help drivers and she will personally attend to this case: “We will study this case and demand the government to solve their problem in several days. The drivers are waiting for the decision that will allow them to work. The government promises people to create working places and to eradicate unemployment problem but in fact number of unemployed people increases daily. We give them time till the end of this week to solve the problem and give drivers chance to keep their families with honest work. If they do not give us concrete positive response on Monday, we will hold protest rallies and even manifestations.”
Before the briefing drivers held protest rally in Larnaka Street in Poti. They protested the government’s decision about transporting cargoes with railway and demanded to receive their jobs back. As they said because of this unfair decision hundreds of drivers in shipping companies were left without job about two months ago. The most of them have credits in banks and they will not be able to pay debts.
“Initially they stopped my one car, then the second one; they sequestrated the trailers. How can I work?! Now I work on other person’s car but there is no job. However, the government talks about employment all the time but in fact they fire us. The drivers from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey work without problem. Only we, Georgians cannot work. Why cannot they divide cargos between railway and cars? I have credit in bank. 90% of drivers have credits like me. We have our houses mortgaged. We are ready to pay but the government must give us job. Otherwise, how can we pay debts?” Zura Gvalia-the driver asked in astonishment.
“They say transport must carry cargoes and that the railway must be extremely busy. It is clear but we also need to work to keep our families. 80 % of drivers have purchased trucks by installment. Percents are increasing in banks and some of us have already lost their flats. The trucks are stopped and parking place is jammed,” the drivers told the Human Rights Centre. They began holding rallies and they will not stop until the government changes policy towards them and allows them to work.