Workers labor on the construction site amid the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in Pristina, Kosovo, 24 November 2020. Photo: EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ

BIRN Report Exposes Shortcomings in Labor Management Practices in Kosovo

A recent report from BIRN highlights troubling discoveries on how businesses in Kosovo handle their workforce, by not adhering to proper procedures.

A new report, presented by BIRN on Friday, addresses issues related to the management of workers by businesses, workplace safety and health, as well as the employment of persons with disabilities.

The report, titled “Management of Workers without Procedures“, reveals concerning facts on the conditions of the workplace in Kosovo.

The sample for this research includes 50 businesses and 20 workers, aiming to analyse the level of implementation of Labor Law, including adherence to contracts by businesses, employment regulations, the hiring of persons with disabilities, and awareness of workplace safety rules.

The study found that surveyed businesses face limited organisational and professional capacities to ensure the implementation of Labor Law and Occupational Safety and Health Law. Businesses continue to have deficiencies in the development of internal organizational documents.

A concerning number of surveyed businesses still operate without a risk assessment in the workplace and they do not provide training for new employees in the early days of their employment, the study found.

Businesses have not succeeded in ensuring that all workers are trained in safety and health and a significant number of businesses continue to employ workers without health certificates.

On the other hand, the Labor Inspectorate is perceived merely as a punitive mechanism, used for punishment rather than consultation on procedures.

Another concerning finding is that human resource management is conducted by non-professionals and businesses struggle to create conditions for the employment and development of persons with disabilities.Workers continue to leave their jobs without following complaint procedures.

During the presentation, Kreshnik Gashi, managing editor of Kallxo, stated that since 2016, 102 workers have died as a result of workplace accidents. He emphasized, “Businesses still haven’t understood the importance of respecting rules and safety at work.”

Deputy Minister of Finance, Labor, and Transfers, Avni Zogiani, highlighted the need to address workplace sexual harassment, pointing out that this discussion has already begun in developed countries. He stated, “The Inspectorate is working to identify regulatory and legal shortcomings and is developing new regulations in the field of labor rights.”

Mimoza Kusari-Lila, head of the parliamentary group of Vetëvendosje, emphasized that Kosovo must prepare for the European market. “There are two dynamics that will inevitably affect the job market. Firstly, visa liberalization and dealing with migration will influence employers to improve working conditions. Secondly, entry into the common market and preparation for a market of 20 million inhabitants in the region and then in the EU,” stated Kusari-Lila.

Brahim Selimaj, chairman of the Association of Builders, mentioned cases where workers, despite having protective equipment, do not use them. “I’m not saying there are no deficiencies among builders and manufacturers, but there are cases when they have the equipment, the helmet and all, and maybe they don’t wear the helmet; awareness is needed,” Selimaj said.

Nalan Malësia from the Independent Public Sector Trade Unions Association stated that raising awareness among employers is crucial. “We need to raise awareness first among employers because every day we see deficiencies in workers who are frustrated with the work they receive with these deficiencies in the contracts. We cannot fulfill the conditions for a worker we hire,” said Malësia.

Acting Chief Inspector of the Market, Naim Hajra, mentioned that while unemployment and survival were the main topics a few years ago, today, society is shifting towards more substantive discussions. “As a society and as institutions, for a long period, we operated in the sense of survival, and we as authorities, as inspectorates, had a balancing role. The inspector has played a balancing role between a company employing 15 people because the essential theme has been unemployment, and perhaps it has failed to bypass the legal aspect, the rights, and safety,” said Hajra.

The complete report on “Management of Workers without Procedures” can be accessed here.

01/12/2023 - 14:46

01 December 2023 - 14:46

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.