The oil workers of Ballsh in central Albania have protested again over fears the oil refinery plant they work at could be facing closure. The protests come around a year after they went on hunger strike over unpaid wages.
In 2020, workers from the Ballsh oil refinery started protesting over a lack of wages. They demanded not only back payment but a guarantee that their jobs would be safe. Following weeks of deadlock and an escalation to hunger strike, the government finally gave in. The state agreed to pay two years of their wages.
On Friday, workers gathered in front of the refinery where they accused the government of going back on their word to keep their jobs safe. Head of the oil workers union, Sokol Dautaj said they have reason to believe the plant will be dismantled.
He vowed that workers will physically prevent anyone from entering the premises to dismantle it, saying that “even if they have to pass over our bodies, we will not allow it.”
Another worker concurred, “We will not allow this property to be dismantled. We want work to continue because all Albanian people benefit. We call on the prime minister to make the right decision for the industry.”