This report was prepared with the aim of shedding light on the predicament of workers in Kosovo’s former socially-owned and public enterprises, which have been privatized by various local and international investors over the past years. The main assertion elaborated in this research report is that the process, which began at a time when the country was making its first steps towards establishing of its institutions after the war, has not resulted in a sustainable increase of employment, nor an improvement in the already difficult conditions of private sector workers.
By closely analyzing two former socially-owned enterprises – Ferronikeli and Sharrcem – and former public enterprise KEDS, this report shows how these three companies saw a systematic decrease in the number of employees, although it cannot be concluded whether or not these companies saw a decrease in production or in the amount of services provided by them. The report also includes accounts by workers and their representatives on how the privatization process affected their working conditions. In point of fact, this was the primary objective of this research.
The report is divided into several chapters. In addition to the chapters’ direct consideration of the fate of workers based in these enterprises, it also explicates the context in which the privatization process was carried out. Furthermore, considerable attention has been placed on the trade unions of these three huge companies, and namely on their capacity to represent workers in front of the respective companies’ leaderships and before state institutions in general. In conclusion, the report offers a number of the workers’ demands to the stakeholders involved in the process, including the management of companies, their representatives, and the Government of Kosovo.
This research paper is based on both primary data collected via interviews and questionnaires, and secondary data gathered through an analysis of existing research papers and official data and documents. The three companies in the focus of this report are numbered among the biggest in Kosovo, and hire a large number of employees. ICE’s research team spent a considerable amount of time with workers conducting their daily activities in the companies, in order to become closely acquainted with their working conditions.