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Lost job because of civil activism

25.06.2020

 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

“Kareli municipality mayor Zaza Guliashvili called his patron Anzor Chubinidze, who is the head of the Special State Protection Service of Georgia, and asked to call the director of the Georgian Post to fire me,” Ani Baliashvili said, who was dismissed from the position of the manager of the Kareli municipality service center of the Georgian Post. She believes her dismissal was connected with her civil activism. The Kareli municipality city hall intended to sell part of the sport ground in Ruisi village to the Russian company Big Service via auction. Ani Baliashvili, together with some of her friends, criticized the decision of the municipality mayor in the social network and with local media. At the same time, they appealed the court against the city hall and the court prohibited the local municipal government to continue the auction.

“In the past seven months, part of the Ruisi village population has been protesting the planned sale of the part of the sport ground to a Russian company and I have been involved in this process from the very beginning because I believe it is a problem to assign the part of the sport ground to the company, where Russian citizens own 90% of the shares. It is inadmissible for me and I think neither local nor central authority must cross red lines. During the 2008 August war, Russians dropped bombs on the territory, which the local government plans to sell to the Russians now. Therefore, instead, it was important to install some symbol dedicated to the protest of the Russian aggression and occupation there,” Ani Baliashvili said.

According to the press-center of the Georgian Post, Ani Baliashvili was dismissed because of the miscarriages observed in the work of the Kareli service center.

“The labor contract with Ani Baliashvili was terminated because of many grave violations in the service center. There were 1875 outdated letters in the service center, where she worked as a manager and relatively the employees had to make 40 extra visits to the addressees to distribute the letters. That means, on the one hand addressees used to receive letters/parcels later, and on the other hand curriers had to make extra visits. Consequently, there was not organized and discipline-based working environment in the service center and the manager was responsible to create it. Above that, the parcels/letters were handed to the curriers without recording them in the registry. We observed 1 947 similar cases in the Kareli service center that created huge risks with regard to the safety of the operation. Besides that, in 10 cases, the letters were handed to the third persons while according to the post service contracts, the letters were to be handed directly to the addressees. Shortcomings were identified in other procedures too,” the Georgian Post clarified the grounds of Ani Baliashvili’s dismissal.

Ani Baliashvili said that part of the accusations mentioned in the statement of the Georgian Post was groundless but noted that she had notified the management about the problems several times but nobody reacted to her concerns. Baliashvili said that she could not eradicate the problems alone; above that, she had received many letters of appreciation from the management for the well-performed job before.

“The management of the Georgian Post is also victim and I will speak about it in the court, who called the director general of the Georgian Post and ordered to fire me. I had not received any reprimand or remark during the previous three years and what could happen to me in the last week? – I will ask this question to the representative of the Georgian Post in the court, when we meet,” said Baliashvili, who appealed the court against the Georgian Post in the. Human Rights Center defends Ani Baliashvili’s interests in the court. HRC lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili said Ani Baliashvili was sacked because of her civil activism. “It was unlawful dismissal. In the court, we will request annulment of the decision and restoration of Ani Baliashvili to the working place.”

Kareli municipality mayor Zaza Guliashvili denies his connection with Ani Baliashvili’s dismissal.

“I am not the head of the Georgian Post and neither I have control mechanism of their work; so I could not fire her. The post administration published the violations observed in her work and I am surprised why they had not sacked her earlier,” Kareli municipality mayor said.

Ani Baliashvili gave a letter to the US Ambassador to Georgia when she visited Gori on June 11; in the letter, Baliashvili wrote about her persecution. 


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