For more than three months now, mine workers of Bulqiza are trying to consolidate their new syndicate and protest for better working conditions and recognition of their status and neglected benefits.
Organized by the recently established Union of United Miners of Bulqiza, they protested in Tirana this Sunday, marching from the Ministry of Economy to the square in front of the Prime Minister’s office.
In front of the Ministry of Economy, the miners demanded clarification of the terms of the collective contract. They were also backed by many civil society activists and numerous citizens of Tirana.
As it was observed by many activists and citizens, none of the major TV channels covered the protest.
Save the Miners, Down the Dictators.
With this chant, they continued their march in the streets of Tirana, sometimes clashing with Police forces, who claimed their protest was illegal.
During his speech, Elton Bebreshi, head of the Bulqiza United Miners Union, fired from the company that manages the mine of Bulqiza AlbChrome, once more disclosed the miners’ demands. AlbChrome is a company owned by Samir Mane, who is also the face behind many other big companies in Albania and considered as one of the richest Albanian businesspeople, with assets all over the region.
Debreshi said, among other things: “We Bulqiza Miners have come to Tirana to seek justice and dignity. For months now, we have been oppressed by the company AlbChrome.“
– Salary increases
– Reviewing labor rates and targets.
– Recognition of difficulties and seniority at work.
– Compensation for all accidents at work
– We demand AlbChrome to stop pressures on miners immediately.
– We demand the immediate reinstatement of the four unjustly dismissed unions syndycalists, Elton Debreshi, Beqir Durçi, Behar Gjimi and Ali Gjeta.
The miners established the new union four months ago and immediately after the creation of this union, 4 of them, among which the head of the union, were fired by AlbChrome.
Based on the Albanian law on Syndicates, firing individuals because of their engagement in workers unions is deemed illegal.
Meanwhile, during its development, the protest has been largely silenced by major media and national television stations, further legitimizing the miners’ calls for respect and recognition of their rights and raising concerns about the media’s orientation to economic gain, contrary to the right to information of citizens.