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2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Kosovo

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Kosovo, 8 June 2011, available at: [accessed 19 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 2,000,000
Capital: Pristina
ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

Until the recent adoption of the Labour Law in November 2010, union organising in the private sector was virtually impossible as the employers did not allow trade unions and there were no legal grounds to oppose the employers. Workers' rights are widely violated, including physical assaults and human trafficking.


With the adoption of the Law on Labour on 1 November 2010 an important step was taken to solidify the trade union rights situation in Kosovo. The new Law recognises the right to freedom of association – a right already guaranteed by the 2008 Constitution – as well as the right to strike, but provides that these rights shall be further regulated by special laws. A Law on Trade Union Organisations and a Law on Strikes have been drafted to this end but have not yet been adopted. The Law on Labour also regulates the conclusion of collective contracts at the enterprise, branch and state level, but fails to explicitly prohibit anti-union discrimination.


Background: In a procedure initiated by Serbia the International Court of Justice in Hague decided in July 2010 that the Kosovo declaration of independence did not violate international law. In November Serbia supported a compromise UN resolution on Kosovo that opened a way for EU-backed mutual dialogue. The economic and social situation remains extremely difficult, with an employment rate of less than 30%.

Anti-union employers: Due to the non-existence of a Labour Law before November 2010, employers have had vast freedoms to threaten workers with dismissals or other forms of anti-union measures if they join a union, resulting in an almost complete lack of unionisation in the private sector. Only a small number of companies respect rules prohibiting anti-union discrimination. A large number of violations of workers rights, including physical assaults, continues to occur in all sectors including in international organisations, although the situation is most severe in the private sector.

Human trafficking: According to the EU 2010 Progress Report, Kosovo remains a place of origin, transit and destination of victims of human trafficking, most of them being women and children. State efforts to fight this phenomenon are still rudimentary, with only a small number of identified victims and often not an adequate punishment of perpetrators.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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