As 10 oil workers in Ballsh enter the 17th day of hunger strike, a group of other protesting workers have entered the premises of the refinery.
Their representatives met with those from the private company but no solution was found for their main demand – receiving past year’s wages.
This morning, following clashes with private security, they forcibly broke the cordon and entered the building. According to the Head of the Oil Workers Union Sokol Dautaj, the refinery has been abandoned by its owners for months.
“There is no company here. We are here to show very clearly that this is a show, there is no owner. Now there is no office, the door is locked, there has been silence for a year, the one who says “I am the owner” we have heard they have left. These facts must be taken into account,” he said.
The reason behind entering the refinery was not only to show that it’s not operational but to evidence their claims that the building is dangerous to the health of residents. This is because chemicals and crude oil have just been left there, they said.
The workers have not been paid in over one year. They have asked that Prime Minister Edi Rama intervene and force the company that owns the refinery to pay them. After no progress was made, they started a hunger strike. Rama said that a strike was no use and dialogue could solve the problem. He also added that it was not his responsibility.
The condition of those on hunger strike is continuing to deteriorate. The workers have locked themselves in a room and are refusing food, water, and medical intervention.