Kosovo’s Unions Threaten Strike Over Privatization

Kosovo’s opposition parties told the Alliance of Trade Unions on Monday that they would support a motion to stop the privatization of nationalized industries.Several opposition parties have pledged to support the cause of the Alliance of Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo, BSPK, to prevent the sale of the three biggest public enterprises – the post office and telecommunications company, Post-Telecom, the Power Company and the Trepca mine.BSPK’s Chairman Haxhi Arifi, said on Sunday that in the last ten days over 61,000 citizens have signed the petition to stop the privatization of the three companies.

The petition will be presented as a motion at the Parliament of Kosovo, which will discuss it during Monday’s session during the debate on privatization.

“We met with the representatives of the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, the Self-Determination Movement, and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, AAK, and the Alliance for a New Kosovo, AKR. They have all pledged to support our motion,” Arifi told reporters.

Last week twenty-seven organizations united under the chairmanship of the BSPK to oppose the sale of government shares in the three largest remaining public companies in Kosovo.

The call went out on the same day as the Procurement Overview body gave a green light for the government to proceed with its privatization plans.

Five companies have qualified for the next round of the competition to buy the government’s 75 per cent share in PTK.

The BPSK called on all the lawmakers to support its motion to prevent the sell-off, and respect the wishes of the 61,539 citizens and employees of the three companies.

The BSPK said on Sunday that if the parliament and the government of Kosovo did not back its motion and stop the sale process, then its members would take to the streets to protest on September 20.

The privatization process has been marred by a number of scandals, following the mysterious death of the Director of Kosovo’s Privatization Agency, Dino Asanaj, in June this year.

Last week Kosovo’s police started interrogating the shareholders of Pristina’s Grand Hotel, as part of their investigation into Asanaj’s the death.

The police have already questioned the Deputy Prime Minister Behgjet Pacolli, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Astrit Haraqija, and the son of the former President of Kosovo Ibrahim Rugova, Uke.

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