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Defence Ministry fired staff protests

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 1
Former employees of the Ministry of Defence, both military people and civilians, protested on January 30 with the demand of reinstating them in their previous positions and the removal of current minister, as about 2,250 people have already been dismissed from the Ministry.

About 200 people protested in front of the Defence Ministry building in Tbilisi said they would continue protesting the “illegal and immoral solution” and would even go on a hunger strike if their demands are not met.

They accuse the current Minister of Defence, Levan Izoria, of disrespecting soldiers and the ministry staff as a whole.

The ministry confirmed the dismissal of the people in the official statement, saying it was the part of the Government’s announced “optimization plan” which envisaged reducing administrative expenses.

The Ministry stressed the dismissed people were selected by a special commission working on this issue for two months and all those fired were offered compensations that amounted to more than five million GEL in total.

Through the dismissals, the ministry said they saved 32 million GEL.

The Ministry also said the amount of compensations were dependent on the rank: for Lieutenants it was 10,000 GEL, for Captains 14,000 GEL, for Majors 18,000 GEL, for Vice-Colonels 23,000 GEL, and for Colonels 29,000 GEL.

Members of the United National Movement party stated the ministry planned to dismiss about 10,000 people because the current Georgian Dream government is “deliberately weakening” the army.

The opposition members stated the ministry leadership was telling the people - especially those who were middle-aged - that they would have to take physical examinations soon and would be fired without any compensations if they failed.

The UNM stressed the ministry “advised” the people to take the compensation and leave the ministry before the exams.