ILO Core Conventions Ratified:

None listed

Reported Violations – 2012

Attempted Murders: 10
Threats: 10

Documented violations – actual number of cases may be higher


The private sector remains out of reach for trade unions, in spite of the Labour Law that came into force in January 2011, and the Law on Trade Unions adopted in July. Anti-union pressure from employers and inefficient court protection mean that many workers are afraid to join a union, or even to report violations of their rights. The large informal economy also puts many workers outside the scope of the unions.


Hashim Thaçi was reappointed Prime Minister in February 2011, following his win in the December 2010 elections, and for the first time the cabinet included a member of the Serbian minority. After the appointment of Behgjet Pacolli as President was overturned on constitutional grounds, parliament eventually elected the Deputy Director of the Kosovo police, Atifete Jahjaga, as the first woman and non-partisan President of the Republic. EU-facilitated dialogue with Serbia started in March 2011 and, in spite of being slowed down by ethnic tensions and clashes in Northern Kosovo during the summer, resulted in five deals on technical issues by the end of the year. By September 2011, Kosovo was recognised by 87 UN Member States, including 22 of the 27 EU Member States.

Trade union rights in law

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.

The Law on Strikes was adopted on 22 July 2010, while the Law on Trade Union Organisations was adopted on 28 July 2011 and Law on Social and Economic Council was adopted on 21 July 2011. The Law on Labour and Law on Trade Union Organisations regulates the conclusion of collective contracts at the enterprise, branch and state level, but fails to explicitly prohibit anti-union discrimination.

Link to additional detailed information regarding the legislation on the ITUC website here

In practice

Private sector non-unionised: In spite of the Labour Law, which came into force on 1 January 2011, and the Law on Union Organisation adopted in July 2011, the private sector remains almost completely non-unionised. Weak law enforcement and the lack of effective protection by the courts mean that workers continue to be threatened with dismissals or other forms of anti-union discrimination if they join a union. Violations of workers' rights have increased in recent years, after the privatisation of state-owned companies began. Around 30% of all employees are employed in the informal economy, without any guarantee of even the most fundamental workers' rights.

Weak labour law enforcement:

Workers and employers are still not very familiar with the newly adopted Labour Law and its implications, while both the Labour Inspectorate and courts lack the capacity to enforce the labour legislation and oversee its implementation. The Labour Inspectorate has only around 50 inspectors to cover more than 100,000 registered companies. The number of complaints submitted remains disproportionately low, as workers fear reprisals from employers, or are simply unaware of the legal remedies available.

The inefficiency of the courts, which have received more than 130,000 labour related cases since 2008, but have solved only around 14,000, results in workers often not trying to enforce their rights through the legal system. Even the binding decisions of the Independent Oversight Board, which receives complaints from civil servants, often remain unimplemented. A large number of violations of workers' rights, including physical assaults, continue to occur in all sectors including in international organisations, although the situation is most severe in the private sector. Overall, supervision and implementation of the labour legislation, including the right to organise, remains a serious challenge for national institutions and trade unions.

Maternity improvements undermined by employer discrimination and budget shortages: The new Labour Law, which came into force on 1 January 2011, increased maternity leave from 12 weeks to 12 months, as well as maternity leave pay from 12 weeks to nine months. As this increased the cost of employing women workers, however, many employers in the private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, started to be more reluctant to hire women workers or began employing them on one-month contracts. The application of improved paid leave provision is further hindered by the insufficient government budget allocation for this.

Human trafficking and forced labour: In spite of some progress in the prosecution and prevention of trafficking of human beings, Kosovo remains a place of origin, transit and destination for victims of trafficking, most of them being women and children. There was an increase in the reported number of underage victims trafficked for sexual exploitation. Child-trafficking for the purpose of begging and other forced labour remains at high levels.


No entry for this country for this year

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