The ITUC affiliates in Albania are the Confederation of the Trade Unions of Albania (KSSH) and the Union of the Independent Trade Unions of Albania (BSPSH).
Freedom of association / Right to organise
The law prohibits anti-union discrimination, but does not provide adequate means of protection against it.
Categories of workers prohibited or limited from forming or joining a union, or from holding a union office:
- Armed forces
- Other civil servants and public employees
- Senior government officials do not have the right to form and join trade unions.
Right to strike
Ban or limitations on certain types of strike actions:
- Restrictions with respect to the objective of a strike (e.g. industrial disputes, economic and social issues, political, sympathy and solidarity reasons)
- Solidarity strikes are allowed if the employer of the solidarity strikers has been actively supporting the employer whom the main strike is organised against.
Undermining of the recourse to strike actions or their effectiveness:
- Excessive civil or penal sanctions for workers and unions involved in non-authorised strike actions
- If a strike is considered unlawful, the employer can issue a back-to-work order and those workers who fail to resume work within three days can be summarily dismissed.
Limitations or ban on strikes in certain sectors:
- Undue restrictions for "public servants"
- Civil servants, regardless of their function, do not have the right to strike.
- Discretionary determination or excessively long list of "essential services" in which the right to strike is prohibited or severely restricted
- Strikes are forbidden in the essential services listed in the Labour Code, which include vital medical and hospital services, water supply services, electricity supply services, air traffic control services, fire protection services and the prison service.
Violations of workers’ and trade union rights are especially frequent in the textile and footwear sector, which accounts for around 35% of exports and employs around two thirds of all workers in the private non-agricultural sector. Out of approximately 100,000 workers, around 90% are young women, while child labour is not uncommon. The rate of unregistered workers in the industry is estimated at around 40%. Union membership in the sector remains very low, owing to threats of dismissal against anyone joining a union.
The Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania (KSSH) reports that employers’ anti-union behaviour is widespread, and includes transfers, demotions, wage cuts and dismissals. Many companies remain very hostile to trade unions, seeing them as an obstacle to freely managing their relationship with the workers, and try to avoid collective agreements. In some companies, trade unions are denied contact with the workers, and there have been cases of violent anti-union behaviour.