Elementary School "Elena Gjika" in Prishtina. | Photo: BIRN.

Teachers’ strikes launched across Kosovo

Kosovo teachers nationwide have gone on strike, demanding salary increases from the Kosovo Government, who have committed to sending the Draft Law on Public Sector Salaries to the Assembly for approval without meeting their demands.

The Union of Education, Science and Culture of Kosovo, SBASHK, launched a general strike in Kosovo from Monday, unsatisfied with the “discrimination” employed by the Kosovo government concerning the Law on Public Sector Salaries.

Representatives of the Union warned the Kosovo Government that the countrywide strike will continue until their demands for salary increases are fulfilled.

In a press release issued on Sunday, SHBASHK appealed to MPs, students and parents to “come out in support of your children’s educators so that these in the Law on Salaries do not remain with a lower salary than drivers and bodyguards of state heads, and not to allow certain [government] sectors to be paid up to 88 per cent higher than your children’s teachers.”

SBASHK rejected the Draft Law on Public Sector Salaries that passed through the Kosovo Government in September, which “defines the salary and remuneration system for public officials and functionaries paid by the state budget, and the rules for determining the salaries of employees of public enterprises in Kosovo,” due to be sent to the Kosovo Assembly for approval. No date has been set for the session.

This year’s strike follows others organized by SBASHK throughout 2018, who said that the negotiations with the government in order to meet their demands did not yield any results.

In the press release, SBASHK referred to “deliberate or unintentional mistakes” in the draft law, asking MPs to send the draft law back for a detailed review.

In March 2018, SBASHK held a day-long teacher’s strike of educators in primary, secondary and higher education institutions across the country, demanding the ratification of a draft law that stipulates a special status and financial compensation for teachers who taught pro bono during the ‘90s following the abolition of Kosovo’s autonomy and curricular changes during Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in 1989.

Haradinaj almost doubled the salary of his cabinet in 2018, which sparked an onslaught of negative reactions in Kosovo. Haradinaj himself is paid 2,950 euros, the highest salary of a prime minister in the region.

In a meeting with representatives of SBASHK, Kosovo prime minister Ramush Haradinaj promised that their demands will be “considered.”

“I notified the representatives of the Syndicate about the necessity that this law pass as soon as possible at the Kosovo Assembly, which would pave the way for corrections in the future,” said Haradinaj.

“But, today, we pledged that we will together, before the voting take place at the Assembly, be committed to taking into consideration some of the demands of the Syndicate and teachers,” said Haradinaj, revealing no further details as to what demands he was referring to.

The strike includes all educational institutions and will start every day from 9:00 o’clock up until 12:00. The Syndicate had not set any date when the strike will end.

14/01/2019 - 13:45

14 January 2019 - 13:45

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.