Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Jovanka Trenchevska, emphasized that street protests are an integral part of a democratic and free society. She reassured the public that the era where protesting was forbidden is long behind and won’t resurface.

Addressing the protests organized by the Union of workers in the administration, judiciary, and citizens associations (UPOZ), Minister Trenchevska acknowledged their legitimacy. She also highlighted the significance of informing citizens about the newly signed General Collective Agreement, which includes UPOZ within the union framework.

Explaining the details of the agreement, Trenchevska highlighted a 10 percent wage increase for all public sector employees in September. Further raises are scheduled for September 2024 and March 2025, coinciding with the implementation of a new wage calculation methodology that multiplies coefficients with the average wage. This agreement, reached after almost two decades, involved discussions with the Federation of Trade Unions (SSM), recognized as the most representative trade union.

The Minister underscored significant wage hikes across various sectors, citing increases of up to 80-100 percent compared to the situation several years ago.

Notably, court and prosecutorial staff staged a protest in front of Parliament, urging lawmakers from all political parties to incorporate their demands for higher wages into next year’s budget, currently under discussion by MPs.