Ballsh Oil Worker Hospitalised as Hunger Strike Enters 10th Day

As Ballsh oil refinery workers enter the 10th day of hunger strike, one of them has been transported to hospital due to his condition worsening significantly.

They have been striking for 10 days as their salaries haven’t been paid for over a year. On Monday, President of the Ballsh Oil Workers Union, Sokol Dautaj said they haven’t had any communication from any state institution. He added that it feels like they do not exist as far as the government is concerned.

Dautaj appealed to Prime Minister Edi Rama to find a solution as soon as possible so that the company pays its arrears.

The condition of other workers is also aggravated abut they are refusing treatment by medics. Many have issues with blood pressure and diziness. A doctor told the media that they require urgent medical care.

This is the second strike in a year of the oil workers of Ballsh. In February 2020, they went on hunger strike for arrears of their wages but agreed to return to work when it was announced a new company would take over the management of the refinery. It was promised that they would be paid for backdated wages and going forward.

This did not happen.

Last night, Rama said that he and the government were not responsible for the situation.

“We helped as much as we could, we cannot be held guilty.”

He said there was a need for investment in the refinery and that the refinery had been misused. Rama added that the government is talking to the EU to close the refinery and provide assistance to those who will be out of work.

“That refinery needs a policy that we are woking on witth the EU to maintain a balance in terms of social depreciation.”

He called the hunger strike “unecessary” as the dispute could be resolved through dialogue.