Albania: The miners are organizing for another strike

We have received the following report from the organization Organizata Politike from Albania They ask for solidarity for the miners in Albania. Please send your declarations of solidarity in English to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will publish them on our homepage and forward them. 27 miners have died since 2014, 8 of whom while working at the AlbChrome mine-pit. Discontent among miners has been brewing for some time. The chronicles of their deaths barely make it on national television, whereas only recently a main prosecutor was accused of negligence in investigating seven deaths dating from 2006-2011 period.

In April 2019, more than 200 miners from AlbChrome signed a petition listing a number of demands, among which greater safety at work, increase of wages, reduction of the workload (which had been constantly increasing year after year, while the wages had remained frozen), recognition for the various levels of difficulty and skill at work, as well as higher rewards for senior miners. The miners expressed their complete disillusionment with the existing trade union that had completely dismissed their demands. The miners contacted (OP) who offered to provide them with the logistical and legal basis for forming a new trade union. After an initial rejection from the court, the United Miners of Bulqiza Trade Union (SMBB) was formed. The new union has a broad Council of 21 members and up until now it has reached a membership of 320 miners, making it the strongest and most representative union in the mine. Three days after the inauguration of the union at the central square of Bulqiza on the 17th of November, its democratically elected leader, Mr. Elton Debreshi, was fired by the company. The company claimed that Debreshi had violated the “ethical code of conduct”. A very limited number of portals have reported on the events. Albanian intellectuals have also refrained from commenting, at least up until we managed to bring the issue onto the public attention with a call for boycotting the products from companies of Mane, followed by graffitis, banners, and eventually distributing leaflets in TEG (a shopping mall under his ownership) that resulted in the maltreatment and prosecution of three of our activists who are still following court procedures. In the meantime, the investigation from the Labour Inspectorate concluded that no wrongdoing was found on the part of the company.