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Albania: Solidarity with the miners - end repression now

In partnership with The Trade Union of United Mineworkers of Bulqiza (Albania), the first democratic union of mineworkers, independent from political parties and employers in Albania

The Trade Union of United Mineworkers of Bulqiza (Albania) announced its formation on 17 November 2019. Five days later, the chairman of the union was dismissed by AlbChrome, part of a very powerful corporation (Balfin) and the biggest mine company operating in the region. In response, the workers boycotted work demanding the reinstatement of their union leader and subsequently an end to worker repression, and higher wages. In the days that followed, other union leaders and activists were temporarily detained and interrogated by the police. On December 2, AlbChrome fired another member of the union executive committee. Under attacks from the employer and the police, as well as under a total media blackout, which has clearly sided with the richest man in Albania, the workers decided to close their strike with the promise by the local labour inspectorate that the issue of the dismissal of trade unionists will be taken up by them. The dismissal of the two trade union leaders has serious repercussions not only for the future of the union, but also for the families of these two workers. Although the export revenues from chromium reach over 100 million euros per year, families in Bulqiza are amongst the poorest in Albania and their survival depends on the mines. Meanwhile, the attacks on the union have continued. On December 12, another member of the union executive committee was given a warning of dismissal and demoted to a work position for which he has no previous experience.

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