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news 14 Sep 12

50,000 Kosovars Sign Petition Against PTK Sale

Unions say that 10,000 workers will also stage a public protest against the privatization of the Post-Telecom PTK and the Power Company, KEK, on Friday.

Fatmir Aliu BIRN Pristina

The Alliance of Independent Unions of Kosovo, BSPK, said it had gathered 50,000 signatures for its petition opposing the privatization of the Post-Telecom of Kosovo, PTK, Kosovo Energy Company, KEK, and the Trepca mines.

Haxhi Arifi, chairman of the BSPK, said on Thursday that besides the petition, some 10,000 workers from the PTK and KEK will protest against selling the two state-owned firms.

“All workers will protest for half an hour in their workplaces on Friday against the wild privatization of these enterprises,” he said in Pristina.

The PTK has over 2,000 employees, while KEK has 8,000 workers in total.

Twenty-seven organizations united around the chairmanship of the BSPK last week to oppose sales of the government's shares in the three biggest remaining state-owned companies in Kosovo.

The call went out on the same day that the Procurement Overview Body gave a green light for the government to proceed further with its plans.

Five companies have qualified for the next round of the competition to buy the government's 75 per cent share in PTK.

These are Albright Capital Management LLC, in cooperation with Portugal Telecom; Columbia Capital in consortium with ACP Axos Capital Gmbh, which cooperate with British Telecom – Poland; M1 International Limited; Turkcell and; Twelve Hornbeams in consortium with Avicenna Capital LLC, which cooperate with Sofrecom (part of France Telecom).

The alliance of organizations opposed to the sales blames privatizations for massive job losses and for the poor economic situation in general on the ground.

The BSPK chairman said that after the alliance closes the petition call on Sunday, it will send copies to the President, government and the Speaker of Parliament.

“By Monday, we expect [parliament to call] an extraordinary session, and put the privatization of the state owned enterprises to debate,” Arifi said.

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