Miners have started a protest at the Albchrome chrome mine in Bulqiza. They accuse the administration of the company of undermining the activity of their union. Albchrome is owned by Samir Mane, who is considered one of the richest oligarchs of Albania.
Earlier this month, the miners self-organized in a labor union, the Syndicate of Unified Miners of Bulqiza (SMBB).
The syndicate had reached out to Albchrome to discuss the working conditions in the chrome mines, which because of years of neglect and lack of investments are one of the most dangerous in Albania. Miners frequently get injured and killed in the chrome mines.
Since the establishment of the labor union, Albchrome has put pressure on its leadership, recently culminating in the firing of SMBB chair Elton Debreshi after he was called to a meeting with Albchrome executives in Tirana.
In a public statement, the SMBB called upon Albchrome to:
1. Cancel its illegal decision to dissolve its work contract with the chair of the labor union, Elton Debreshi;
2. Effect his immediate return to work;
3. Halt as soon as possible its interventions in the activities of this union, which continues with calls to similar meetings in Tirana of two members of the Labor Union Council, in particular Behar Gjini and Beqir Duriçi
The continuation of this obstructing strategy toward the labor union doesn’t only make Albchrome a company that works with arrogance and flagrant illegality, but also subject of the fines envisioned in the Labor Code, as well as other administrative and judicial measures envisioned in the Albanian laws.
On the contrary, if our requests are not taken into consideration, besides the legal road, we will escalate our activities in accordance with the possibilities offered to us by the law.
Albchrome is in the possession of Samir Mane since 2013.