Trade unions and civil society: “Together for the decent work”
On the 10th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work, the Center for Labour Relations and Social Dialogue in cooperation with the Center for Gender Alliance for Development and the Association Together for Life, in cooperation with the Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania (BSPSH) the autonomous unions of the Petroleum and Public Sector, with the participation of the largest employers organization in Albania “Biznes Albania”, the Ombudsman and various actors of political parties and civil society, with the support of Olaf Palme Center organized an event that brought together all the key players in solidarity and support to the decent work. The civil society joined trade unions to seek and sensitize the government and employers to guarantee for all Albanian workers productive work in terms of freedom of equality and human dignity.
The meeting was moderated by Mr. Arian Hoxha, Executive Director of the Center for Labor Relations and Social Dialogue. It was emphasized the importance of such multilateral events with the presence and contribution of all partners and key stakeholders in creating and maintaining communication and cooperation between public and government institutions, employers, employees and civil society. Also, for the continuity of such activities, it will be necessary to create a comprehensive platform for decent work with other representatives who have in their focus the support and impact on the decent work components. Mr. Hoxha reiterated the CLRSD’s commitment to lobbying with the Government on signing the Global Deal on Decent Work.
Mr. Gezim Kalaja, president of the Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania (BSPSH) thanked the CLRSD for the support to the BSPSH structures and stressed the importance of such cooperation and participation. Mr. Kalaja commented on the importance of decent work, the promotion of opportunities for men and women to earn a decent and productive job in terms of freedom, equality, security and human dignity, and how BSPSH has built a social and economic platform with concrete objectives in the decent work framework. Also, Mr. Kalaja spoke about the contribution they had made to improving the methods of drafting and implementing the legal acts of work, the importance of collective contracts that have been the focus of BSPSH. The trade union movement will continue to be a constructive opposition to the defense of democracy in its social dimension.
The Ombudsman Mrs. Erinda Ballanca, on behalf of the Institution that she represents, spoke of the current state of affairs in Albania and the problems not only with the decent work, but with the very existence of work and the necessity of essential changes in this area in our country. Secondly, she mentioned the issues with legislation, the role of the People’s Advocate and published issues that can help us all for further improvement. On this occasion, she invited all the authorities and institutions that when it comes to do something for the dignity and rights of the citizens, to be all together so everything can be done for the matter.
Mr. Bashkim Sala, Secretary General of the biggest Employers’ Organization in Albania “Biznes Albania”, spoke about the special attention devoted to decent work since the drafting of the legislation until the implementation in practice by them. He stressed that we should work hard so that implementation does not leave much to be desired. Improving the quality of work and ensuring better and safer working conditions contribute to a better standard of living and human dignity; factors that increase productivity and job effectiveness. Also, the importance should be given to creating an enabling environment for new and sustainable businesses, which depends on well-defined and well articulated policies. Mr. Sala recommended that we should have a broader understanding of the Labor Code in order to achieve full implementation of the standards.
Mrs. Zhuljeta Harasani, Coordinator of the World Labor Organization in Albania (ILO), focused on the importance of such activities with a broad participation of all key stakeholders in relation to decent work and the importance of the continuity of such a practice. Also, Mrs. Harasani talked about the newest publication of the ILO’s office that she represents, the Commentary which was designed to help everyone to have a common sense and approach in terms of the Labor Code by breaking down all the articles in so as to be as tangible and understandable by everyone.
Mr. Edison Hoxha on behalf of CLRSD during his speech spoke on the conclusion of the monitoring of the political programs of each of the political parties during the electoral campaign for the general parliamentary elections held on 25 June 2017. The focus of this monitoring was the inclusion of the decent work and of its four components: employment, social protection, workers’ rights and social dialogue; on the agendas and political documents before and during the electoral campaign. From monitoring it is noticed that political parties have included decent work in their political programs. But there is a tendency to include only two of the components: employment and social protection. Meanwhile, workers’ rights and social dialogue do not take place in political programs or political discussions. In spite of the different approaches made by the two parties to both two components, it is concluded that none of the monitored political parties foresees in the programming documents the full concept of decent work. During the campaign era, there were qualitative changes in discussions where there was an increase in discussions about decent work from almost all political parties. Meanwhile, Mr. Edison Hoxha on behalf of the Center for Labor Relations and Social Dialogue (CLRSD) encourages political parties to include more decent work in their political programs.
Representatives of the two partner organizations in this activity, GADC and TFL, talked about the respective work of the two organizations and the difficulties or problems they have faced in their work on gender equality in the workplace and workers’ problems in manufacturers and call center. During the meeting were also presented the cases of two employees who showed their experience of work in the enterprise, difficult working conditions, low wage, extended not-paid time schedules and work on holiday days, presenting a difficult reality workers’ rights.
Mr. Gerti Shella said that all the actors considering this start-up inclusive event, with all stakeholders,from now on we can do much better in the future considering the existing platforms and will have a greater and more efficient impact in this area.
The representative of Olaf Palme Center, Plejada Gugashi, thanking everyone for their participation, said how important this kind of cooperation is where all the major parties are willing to work together to contribute to something as important as decent work. Mrs. Gugashi emphasized how important it is for us all to be as informed about the Labor Code and updated with the changes that take place in the legislature so that our work and contribution will be as effective as possible.
There were numerous discussions about the issues we face each day as employees or at the institutional level, and how we can all contribute to have a positive impact and bring about more visible and effective changes regarding decent work and all its components. Unanimously, was agreed that such activities that join forces for workers’ rights will continue and intensify even more in the future.