Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August 2014, 14:19 GMT

2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Albania

Publisher International Trade Union Confederation
Publication Date 8 June 2011
Cite as International Trade Union Confederation, 2011 Annual Survey of violations of trade union rights - Albania, 8 June 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ea662293ef.html [accessed 28 August 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

A law on nationalisation of trade union property was revoked, but anti-union practices remain widespread. Basic trade union rights are guaranteed by law. 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 2010

Background: Massive demonstrations were organised in May 2010 in Tirana by the Socialist opposition, which contested the 2009 election results and demanded a transparent recount of the ballots. In November, the EU rejected Albania's request for candidate status and put forth a list of requirements to be fulfilled before accession negotiations could be opened. However, the Schengen visa requirement for Albanian citizens was scrapped.

Anti-union employers: The Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania (KSSH) reports that employers' anti-union behaviour is widespread, and includes transfers, demotions, wage cuts and dismissals. While the victims of anti-union dismissals have been able to challenge the employers' 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 that it took around three years to review cases of anti-union harassment.

Trafficking and forced child labour: According to the ILO, Albania is one of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe that is most seriously affected by the problem of labour exploitation of children and trafficking. The law allows employment of children over the age of 14 for "easy work", without, however, providing a definition of the term. Most children work in the informal sector – many of them in extremely hazardous occupations and under dangerous conditions in sectors such as agriculture, construction, shoe and clothes manufacturing and services.

Law on nationalisation of trade union property revoked: Two trade union confederations, the Union of the Independent Trade Unions of Albania (BSPSH) and the Confederation of the Trade Unions of Albania (KSSH), were evicted from their headquarters in 2006 following a court decision on property restoration. A law was subsequently adopted in 2009 which nationalised all the property of the Albanian trade unions and prohibited them from owning any real-estate. In June 2010 the Constitutional Court of Albania declared the law illegal and in violation of property rights. However, trade unions have called for a new law which would regulate the issue of trade union assets.

Copyright notice: © ITUC-CSI-IGB 2010

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