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2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Albania

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 9 June 2010
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2010 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Albania, 9 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4c4fec9327.html [accessed 16 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Population: 3,200,000
Capital: Tirana
ILO Core Conventions Ratified: 29 – 87 – 98 – 100 – 105 – 111 – 138 – 182

There were further attacks on trade union property, and new cases of anti-union harassment. Basic trade union rights are secured, however all civil servants are prohibited from taking strike action.

Trade union rights in law

Although the labour law does not contain areas of serious concern, problems still exist. Workers are guaranteed freedom of association in the Constitution and the Labour Code, except for senior government officials. Whereas anti-union dismissals are prohibited by law, workers are not awarded effective protection as the burden of proof lies with the victim and reinstatement can only be ordered for public administration employees.

The right to strike is restricted, as civil servants, regardless of their function, are not allowed to strike. Furthermore, solidarity strikes are only permitted where the employer of the solidarity strikers has been actively supporting the other employer. The list of "essential services" where strikes are banned exceeds the ILO definition by including workers in the prison service. Also, if a strike is considered unlawful, the employer can order strikers to return to work within three days or face dismissal.

Trade union rights in practice and violations in 2009

Anti-union employers: Although the official data of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities shows that only eight cases of trade union discrimination were reported during the last five years, the Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania (KSSH) reports that employers' anti-union behaviour is much more widespread, and includes transfers, demotions, wage cuts and dismissals. While the victims of anti-union dismissals have been able to challenge the employer's actions in court and have received compensation of up to one year's salary, the law gives them no right to be reinstated or re-engaged in their previous jobs. Earlier, Albanian trade unions had reported that courts were overloaded and it took around three years to review cases of anti-union harassment.

Activists' family members targeted: The Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania, KSSH, reports an alarming trend of targeting workers for their family members' trade union activities. Spouses, siblings and parents of trade union representatives have been made redundant. The wife of the KSSH president, Mr. Kol Nikollaj, was dismissed from her job without any reason, and the KSSH suspects that it was an act of retaliation against its president's activities. The wife of the head of the Federation of Agriculture, Trade and Tourism was also sacked under similar circumstances.

Unionists transferred and forced to take wage cuts: Three local leaders of the Federation of Industry Trade Unions (affiliated to KSSH) were targeted for their trade union activities. Mr. Misir Kumria, the president of the energy sector trade union in Tirana, and Ms. Anila Tucilla, the president of the energy sector union in Shkorda, were transferred and had to take wage cuts. Mr. Jonuz Hysa, the president of the energy sector union in Librazh, was reinstated in his previous post after trade unions protested against his transfer.

Trade union offices – still no solution, new attacks on property: In 2006, two national trade union centres – BSPSH and KSSH – were evicted from their headquarters following a court decision on property restitution (see the 2007 and 2008 editions of the Survey). The trade unions' office equipment and documents were also destroyed in the process. The government promised to find a solution and provide trade unions with alternative premises, however those promises were not kept. On 19 August, Albanian President Sali Berisha announced that a bill on expropriation of all the property of Albanian trade unions was being drafted and should be passed into law within three months. The Parliament finally adopted the law while the unions appealed to the Constitutional court against it.

Trade unionists in public service harassed: Four heads of trade union councils in the civil defence system, members of the Federation of Civil Defence Workers, were fired during the year in connection with their trade union membership. Six local leaders of the Union of Police Services were demoted for anti-union reasons.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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