Widespread strikes disrupt services in North Macedonia

Jun 22, 2022, 6:02 AM | Updated: 6:10 am

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — A strike by government workers in North Macedonia disrupted services Wednesday over a pay dispute between unions and the country’s center-left government fueled 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 %, up from 10.5 % in April. The average monthly wage in the country is around 480 euros ($500).

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

In the center of the capital, Skopje, protesters left 120 empty chairs in front of parliament 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 harmonization based on minimum wage should be applied. It needs to be well defined and follow a wage-growth program 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.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint news conference with Indonesian President Joko Wid...
Associated Press

Putin’s week: Facing NATO expansion, West’s unity on Ukraine

It has not been an easy week for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He took his first foreign trip since the invasion of Ukraine to shore up relations with troublesome Central Asian allies. He watched as NATO declared Moscow its main enemy and invited Russia’s neighbors Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. And he was […]
1 day ago
FILE - Reveler carry a LTBGQ flag along Fifth Avenue during the New York City Pride Parade on Sunda...
Associated Press

Same-sex couples updating legal status after abortion ruling

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Emails and phone calls from same-sex couples, worried about the legal status of their marriages and keeping their children, flooded attorney Sydney Duncan’s office within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. The ruling last week didn’t directly affect the 2015 decision that paved the way […]
1 day ago
FILE - Reveler carry a LTBGQ flag along Fifth Avenue during the New York City Pride Parade on Sunda...
Associated Press

Same-sex couples updating legal status after abortion ruling

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Emails and phone calls from same-sex couples, worried about the legal status of their marriages and keeping their children, flooded attorney Sydney Duncan’s office within hours of the Supreme Court’s decision eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. The ruling last week didn’t directly affect the 2015 decision that paved the way […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Several police officers wounded in eastern Kentucky shooting

ALLEN, Ky. (AP) — Several police officers were shot and wounded while trying to serve a warrant in eastern Kentucky on Thursday, authorities said. A suspect was taken into custody and at least one person was killed, Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt told WYMT-TV. The sheriff’s department described the shooting as “deadly” in a Facebook […]
1 day ago
China's President Xi Jinping, right, looks on as Hong Kong's incoming Chief Executive John Lee is s...
Associated Press

Xi defends vision of Hong Kong as 25-year anniversary marked

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday defended his vision of the “one country, two systems” framework against accusations by the U.S., U.K. and others that Beijing has undermined the freedoms and autonomy promised to Hong Kong for 50 years. In a speech marking 25 years since the city became a semi-autonomous […]
1 day ago
FILE - North Koran defectors release balloons carrying leaflets condemning North Korean leader Kim ...
Associated Press

N. Korea suggests balloons flown from South brought COVID-19

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea suggested Friday its COVID-19 outbreak began in people who had contact with balloons flown from South Korea — a highly questionable claim that appeared to be an attempt to hold its rival responsible amid increasing tensions over its nuclear program. Activists for years have flown balloons across the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Widespread strikes disrupt services in North Macedonia