Widespread strikes disrupt services in North Macedonia

It needs to be well defined and follow a wage-growth programme that does not return to the same debate we have been having for 30 years, said Fatmir Bitiqi, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs.North Macedonia, whose population is about 1.8 million people, has more than 130,000 employees in the state administration.


PTI | Skopje | Updated: 22-06-2022 19:09 IST | Created: 22-06-2022 19:09 IST
Widespread strikes disrupt services in North Macedonia
  • Country:
  • Macedonia

A strike by government workers in North Macedonia disrupted services on Wednesday over a pay dispute between unions and the country's centre-left government fuelled by high inflation.

Police associations, health care workers, municipal employees and others joined the strike, leaving essential services running with emergency staffing levels.

The National Federation of Trade Unions, or SSM, in North Macedonia is demanding pay increases for public sector workers after inflation increased for a ninth straight month in May to reach a 14-year high of 11.9 per cent, up from 10.5 per cent in April. The average monthly wage in the country is around 480 euros (USD 500).

“We need that money because of double-digit inflation, price shocks and the announced energy crisis,” SSM leader Darko Dimovski said.

In the centre of capital Skopje, protesters left 120 empty chairs in front of parliament on Wednesday, matching the number of the country's lawmakers.

The 24-hour rolling strikes were launched after a parliamentary budget committee failed to comply with union demands for a proposed salary adjustment scale.

The strike disrupted mostly administrative services. Flights at the country's main international airport, in Skopje, weren't immediately affected.

Government officials said they were seeking a “a systemic, but not an ad hoc solution” to address the growing cost of living crisis.

“We maintain our position that harmonisation based on minimum wage should be applied. It needs to be well defined and follow a wage-growth programme that does not return to the same debate we have been having for 30 years,” said Fatmir Bitiqi, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs.

North Macedonia, whose population is about 1.8 million people, has more than 130,000 employees in the state administration.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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