University of Prishtina Technical Staff Strike for Higher Salaries

The technical and security workers at the University of Prishtina are striking in demand for salary increase, citing labour rights violations.

Around 250 technical workers, as well as University’s Student Center staff, contracted by the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” from private companies, are striking since last week for higher salaries.

They complain that current salaries do not even cover basic necessities.

“My call is for them (University’s rectorate) to open their eyes and realize that one dinner of theirs costs as much as one month’s salary for us” Emine Gashi, a maintenance worker at the Faculty of Law, told Prishtina Insight, on Wednesday, explaining that currently the cleaning staff is being paid 250 euros per month.

“We are asking for 405 euros, we are not asking for something extraordinary that cannot be fulfilled,” she added. 

Under current legislation, the minimum wage in Kosovo is 130 euros per month for those under 35 years of age and 170 euros for people between 35 and 65.

In July last year, lawmakers approved a hike in the minimum wage to 264 euro regardless of age but the change has yet to come into effect after the opposition Alliance for the Future of Kosovo lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court, which has yet to rule.

According to the Kosovo Agency of Statistics, the average gross salary in Kosovo is 604 euros in the public sector and 473 euros in the private sector.

The President of the Independent Private Sector Union, Jusuf Azemi, announced on Tuesday that workers will be on strike until Friday.

“Today we set this deadline for negotiation, but according to all indications, they (the University’s rectorate) have negotiated only with the owners of the companies, not with us. On Friday, a decision will be made on changing the form of the strike,” Azemi stated.

He further disclosed that around three weeks ago the workers declined an offer of 320 euro salaries in a meeting with the secretary of the University of Prishtina’s rectorate.

The Secretary of the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina”, Besfort Krasniqi, told Prishtina Insight on February 20,  that investments in infrastructure and new employees “did not leave room for a higher increase in the minimum gross salary”.

Krasniqi explained that the contracts, signed in March 2021, “are three-year contracts” and with the new contracts salary increases are expected. 

Maintenance workers would receive 395 euros per month, a 75 euro increase from the current salary of 320 euros, and supervisors are expected to have a salary of 500 euros per month, 150 euros more than the current salary of 350 euros.

Arsim Gjinovci, representative of the security staff of the University of Prishtina told Prishtina Insight, their contracts expire on April 1, and currently they are paid a 300 euros net monthly salary, which is not enough to cover monthly expenses.

According to Krasniqi, the secretary of the University of Prishtina, the security, who currently are being paid around 280 euros per month, will have a 42 euro increase in the new contracts, with their new salaries expected to be 322 euros.  

The cleaners are expected to have a 40 euros increase, from 280 to 320 euros per month. 

Technical and physical workers of this institution went on strike on February 16 and decided to extend the strike because the University had not responded to their demands.

Nazmi Krasniqi, a technical employee at the Faculty of Law and Economics of the University of Prishtina, told Prishtina Insight on Wednesday, that their labour rights are being violated. 

“The salaries (of similar employees) at the Ministry of Education used to be 230 euros and they were increased to 405 euros. We are employees of this Ministry, as employees of the University, and we were left with 260 euros per month,” Krasniqi said, demanding “equality”.

“This salary is not enough, I consider it as a social allowance,” he said, listing monthly expenses such as electricity bill and property tax which are unaffordable. 

Prishtina Insight contacted the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Youth to confirm the salaries of its staff but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

Similar protests were also held, in early February, by technical workers in some schools and primary healthcare centers in Prishtina which provide services through contracts with the private sector. In negotiations with the municipality, an agreement had been reached to implement their requests.

and 21/02/2024 - 16:16

21 February 2024 - 16:16

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.