Photo: Diellza Luzha/BIRN

Junior Doctors Protest Failure to Allocate Special Budget For Wages

Medical specialist trainees in Kosovo are demanding more pay for night shifts, while self-financing colleagues seek inclusion in stalled Wages Law.

Regularly funded medical specialist trainees are continuing to protest over demands to be paid for night shifts, while their colleagues who are self-financed seek  inclusion in the Wages Law. 

Despite holding two protests within two weeks, for the same reason, their demands to meet the Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, and the Minister of Health, Rifat Latifi, have not been realized till now. 

The Head of the Council of Specialists, neurology specialist trainee Arianit Zajmi, together with several other representatives of medical specialists, last week met the Minister of Finance and Transfers, Hekuran Murati, but described the meeting as “the most disappointing meeting in my life”. 

“We were told that if it is in our interest to leave the country, we could leave. Although the meeting was very disappointing, we have continued, and are going to, protest,” he said. 

The Kosovo parliament’s Committee on Budget and Finance last week failed to approve the demands of self-financing trainee specialists to be awarded regular salaries, with the provision of a special budget for them. 

There are subsidies for self-financing specialists but they are not drawn from the regular budget of the government. The Ministry of Health told BIRN that 2.8 million euros had been allocated for subsidizing self-financing trainee specialists.

“Our demands have fallen on deaf ears. We will continue with protests until they are met. We do not want to give a political direction to the protest, we are troubled people because we work only in the public sector, not the private one, and do not get support from state institutions”, Zajmi told a press conference. 

Plastic surgeon specialist trainee Amire Demolli says she carries out 120 hours of night shifts per month but is paid only 79 cents per hour for them.

According to the Ministry of Health, Kosovo has 661 specialist doctors in the seven regional hospitals. 

In July last year, the Ministry of Health, headed by Armend Zemaj, opened a competition for more specialist training throughout Kosovo, four years after the last call. 

In the last three weeks, Kosovo has seen a weave of union protests and strikes over pay and conditions. 

Both public and private workers’ unions have organized protests, demanding salary increases and more assistance from the government, their main demand being the adoption of the Law on Wages, adopted by the previous government in 2019. 

Medical specialist trainees in a protest for better labour conditions. Photo: Diellza Luzha/BIRN
09/12/2021 - 18:46

09 December 2021 - 18:46

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