From: Alice Taylor
Women Oil Workers Take Over Hunger Strike at Ballsh Refinery

10 Ballsh oil workers have left the hunger strike in very serious health condition after 18 days of protest. Their withdrawal was done on the insistence and recommendation of doctors’ who said that continuing the strike any longer would put them at significant risk.

Instead, other oil workers, most of them women, will replace them.

One of the women told Euronews; “Our demands are known. We will be here until we die or until our demands are met.”

Another added: “We have nothing to lose, we are already dead.”

The oil workers have expressed their determination not to withdraw from their protest until they receive overdue salaries of more than a year.

They have called on the government to intervene but Prime Minister Rama has made it clear that he will not interfere in the relationship between oilmen and private companies. He absolved himself of responsibility for the situation.

The day before, a group of oil workers met with representatives of the firm, which claims to run the Ballsh Deep Oil Refinery.

The head of the Oil Workers’ Union, Sokol Dautaj stated that during the meeting there were empty promises and no solution was offered for the arrears of wages and the resumption of work. For this reason the strike will continue.

Yesterday, other workers from the refinery stormed a private guard cordon and entered the premises of the refinery. They said that the refinery has clearly been abandoned for months.

Sokol Dautaj said:

“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.”