Bogus vacancy announcements are still common practice

A day doesn’t pass without complaints addressed to different institutions for breach of employees’ rights. The complaints are directed to the ways through which positions are filled, as well as to unjust dismissals.

The newest case happened in the municipal enterprise “Hortikultura” in Pristina, where a vacancy was announced and a candidate was hired for the position of coordinator for the natural landscape of “Germia”. But, one of excluded candidates, M.M., said that even though he has 25 years of proven experience and was very prepared for the task, he was overlooked in favour of a municipality ruling party activist with inadequate education for this position. 

The candidate in question believed that the only reason he was rejected was that he doesn’t belong to the ruling party of the municipal government. He also noted other interests that can lead the CEO of the municipal company to be in the service of politics, violating, as he said, “the very principles of open competitions”.

M.M. has sent the case to court and said that he will do everything in his power until the legal right “triumphs against violators of the labour law and all other principles”.

M.M. says that he was not the only one who was discriminated in the competition. “20 other candidates suffered in the same way, because I am to understand that all positions were filled based on party membership rather than legal procedures,” he said. He felt offended by this treatment.

In these cases, the “victims” of discrimination can sue the employers, but finding an attorney and following through the lawsuit is an expensive feat.

Meanwhile, the Independent Oversight Board of Kosovo Civil Service (IOBKCS) says it does not treat or examine cases of violation of the Labour Law of the enterprises that are also as publicly listed. Therefore in this case, M.M. has no right to appeal to this board. 

M.M. also criticised the way complaining parties were treated and the obstacles they were presented with when they wanted to appeal. Firstly, as he said, the time allotted for appeals is only three days. In his case, the first out of those days was a Friday, and Saturday and Sunday are days off. But when he went on Monday to file the complaint, he was told that his deadline had passed.

“This behaviour of the enterprise administration only confirms that everything is rigged by people at the top management level in cooperation with the municipality,” says M.M.

“My complaint was accepted only after I insisted, warning them that I would go to the police. It was a legal violation and I had the right to notify the law enforcement authorities,” he said. However, despite the appeal, the person who was admitted for the position continues to work there.

M.M. sent a letter to the municipal authorities, to enterprise and the Labour Inspectorate, which states that he meets all the requirements for this position. “I scored second in the competition and I meet all the requirements. I have professional preparation, work experience, adequate education, etc., but in this process I was just missing political loyalty to the party or another interest group”, he added.

The Labour Inspectorate had also noted violations in this vacancy competition. The first time it was announced, it was cancelled due to the inappropriate number of members of the interviewing and evaluating commission. In the law, this commission must be composed of 5 members, while the management had only appointed 3 members. This was even accepted in the media by the CEO of the municipal enterprise, but he denied other accusations.

Emine Klaiqi
Pristina, July 2015