In the upcoming days our organization will celebrate its 5-year anniversary!

Exactly 5 years ago, my friends and I had an idea to create the ‘Union of Unemployed for Employment’. During this very period the unemployment rate reached its peak in our country.

“Thanks” to liberal labor code, people who were fired from their jobs without any compensation turned out to be absolutely powerless. No one protected their rights and no one actually could, because definition of ‘unemployed’ disappeared from legislation and all this happened despite the fact that our Constitution (Article 32) promises job placement and support to people while unemployed.

The term “unemployed” was substituted with a vague term ‘job seeker’, while unemployment benefits has been replaced by social vulnerability status, which is possible for citizens and their family members to get only when they eventually end up extremely impoverished.

The term ‘socially vulnerable’, or rather its implementation in our country, has divided society into two camps. So-called ‘Social ghetto’ was created. People who live on this side of a social border get other values and requirements. For example: they completely lose desire to search for a job. Moreover, they refuse to work, because in this case they lose social vulnerability status and financial support with it.

Saakashvili’s evil genius regime deserves its proper acknowledgement, because it is very difficult to find the army of slaves as obedient as people who are impoverished, miserable and hungry.

We started working in 2011. The result of our work is that we have prepared a draft law on social welfare for unemployed people. The draft law was initiated in March 2012 by the MP Davit Lortkipanidze and partitioned former parliamentary majority (United National Movement). We also developed a legislative initiative on minimum wage. Our organization has managed to hold a number of charity events. For example, we organized ‘basket of benefits’ for the family of 16 living at Lebanese street, helped families with disabled children, also organized free diners, etc. We also conducted election monitoring in 2013 and 2014. Our organization had 903 representatives monitoring the last municipal elections throughout the country.

Unemployment resulted in sharply increasing number of homeless people in the country. People without income started to sell or mortgage their apartments, the only valuable property they had and stayed without shelter. The reasons for this varied; needing funds for treatment, fraudulent schemes, which they have fallen into by deceiving, etc.

Therefore, our attention was drawn to this problem. The project named ‘Facing towards Homeless People’ was launched in 2015 which is financially supported by ‘Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’. In the frames of the project, a database of homeless people throughout Tbilisi and the legislative initiative on Homeless People were created. Our goal is to initiate this draft law in the Parliament. Ongoing consultations are being held on this issue. The second part of our project named ‘Social Support for Homeless People’ has been launched.

Tamar Iovashvili, March, 2016