IndustriAll Europe congratulates both FSPISH SPMSH and all workers who bear testament to the merits of strong organising and collective bargaining. We will continue to support Albanian trade unions in achieving stable work and reliable wages
The first case came from the ITRC company oil refinery located in Ballsh in southwest Albania, which employs 1,000 of Ballsh’s 7,600 inhabitants. Supported by the Trade Union Federation of Industrial Workers of Albania (FSPISH), oil workers took action following financial hardship in the run up to Christmas caused by two months of unpaid wages and insurance, as well as 13 months of wages missing from previous years’ settlements.
Demonstrations began in Ballsh on 21 December and culminated on 28 December with an overnight 100-kilometre march to the capital, Tirana, where demonstrators gathered outside the energy ministry, finance ministry and office of the Prime Minister. The energy minister, Damian Gjiknur, agreed to meet representatives of the workers and convened a meeting of government officials, including the finance minister, the employer and the unions. The day after the meeting, unpaid wages were paid but the action continues as there are still other remaining payments to be made to workers.
Taf Koleci, FSPISH General Secretary expressed his jubilation at the fact that the workers would “be able to celebrate New Year’s Eve happy with their family”.
The second case began back in September 2015 when the jobs of 300 copper miners in Puka, one of the poorest regions of Albania, were put on the line as the only company for extraction, enrichment and export of copper in the country, BERALB, announced its intention to close all mines due to the low price of copper on the market. The Independent Trade Union of Miners in Albania (SPMSH) participated in 5 months of collective bargaining and tough negotiations until reaching an agreement in February 2016, which stipulated that no worker would lose their job and that all 300 workers would receive a basic salary, including payments for health insurance and the retirement fund for the duration of the suspension of mining operations.
Finally, after two years of suspension, 300 workers returned to their full-time jobs on 28 December 2017.
SPMSH President Gezim Kalaja expressed his great satisfaction with this result, which is an example of strong trade union and workers determination in fighting for the future of their jobs.
“IndustriAll Europe congratulates both FSPISH, SPMSH and all workers who bear testament to the merits of strong organising and collective bargaining. We will continue to support Albanian trade unions in achieving stable work and reliable wages”, said Luc Triangle, General Secretary of industriAll Europe.