Albania has been rated as a regular violator of workers rights, according to the 2020 Global Rights Index: The World’s Worst Countries for Workers. Despite this, it does rank better than many of its geographical neighbours.

It is joined by Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Hungary, Liberia, Poland, Russia, and the UK. Neighbouring countries that are worse for workers due to systematic violations of rights include Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, and Serbia. The United States is also one of the worsts offenders in this section.

In terms of nearby countries that performed better than Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, and the Baltic States scored higher.

The best countries for workers rights include the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Iceland, Italy, and the Netherlands. Slovakia also ranked well.

Overall in Europe, the situation for workers is mixed. The report found that workers had been arrested and detained for protesting in 26% of countries on the continent. Social movements and strikes have been curbed by authorities and arbitrary arrests and some violence was noted. In Eastern Europe, it was reported that independent trade union movements are still heavily suppressed.

Some 38% of countries in Europe totally excluded their workers from the right to establish or join a trade union. A further 56% denied the right to collective bargaining and 72% the right to strike.

Turkey is considered by the report as one of the worst countries in the world to work in. Describing it as “hostile” for trade unionists, it noted how since the failed coup in 2016, the authorities have “severely restricted civil liberties” and cracked down on independent trade unions. It describes how in a climate of fear and under constant threat of retaliation, workers are unable to unite and employers regularly engage in union-busting practices.

In November 2019, a group of miners working for AlbChrome mining company were fired just days after they established an independent union. They were also arrested for protesting and demanding better working conditions and the reinstatement of their jobs. AlbChrome is owned by Saimir Mane who was Albania’s first billionaire.