Education International has written to the Albanian government to protest against the expulsion of nationally recognised trade union confederations the KSSH and the BSPSH from their offices in Tirana.
As reported by our member, Stavri Liko of the Trade Union Federation of Education and Science of Albania (FSASH), and also the ITUC, police appeared without notice on 1st August and prevented staff from the Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania (KSSH) and the Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania (BSPSH) from entering their office building.
Trade union property and documents were removed and/or destroyed in the process.
The eviction took place despite assurances last year from both the Albanian Minister of Justice and the Minister of Labour, Social Affair and Equal Opportunities that alternative solutions to the need for trade union premises would be found. Police made several attempts to expel the unions from their premises in 2006. Only through mass public protest and the urgent intervention of the global trade union movement were these attempts halted.
EI calls for the Albanian government to intervene immediately and enable the KSSH and BSPSH to resume their normal activities.
Education International’s letter to Sali Berisha, Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, is reproduced below:
Mr. Sali Berisha
Republic of Albania
Brussels, 8 August 2007.
Dear Prime Minister:
I am writing to you on behalf of Education International, the Global Union representing teachers and education workers, to protest the expulsion of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania (KSSH) and the Union of Independent Trade Unions of Albania (BSPSH) from their offices on 1 August. Teachers worldwide are appalled to learn that the activities of two democratic organizations should be disrupted in such a way.
Education International has learned that the police entered the trade union offices at the “Pallati Ali Kelmendi” on Boulevard “Zogu I Pare” in Tirana and forcefully removed trade union property and documents, some of which were destroyed in the process. It is regrettable that the unions received no prior notice that such actions would be undertaken and that staff were prevented from entering the building. There are reports that the trade unions attempted to liaise with the Government and the police authorities as the events occurred, but their efforts were of no avail.
Education International notes that Albanian authorities have in the past pledged to find solutions to the need for trade union premises. We deeply regret that such a pledge was not fulfilled and express our serious concern that freedom of association, the cornerstone of a democratic society, might be endangered in your country. In compliance with the International Labour Organization Conventions regarding freedom of association, ratified by the Republic of Albania in 1957, we urge your government to refrain from any interference which would restrict said right and to take all necessary and appropriate measures to ensure that workers may exercise freely the right to organise.
Taking into account the seriousness of this matter, Education International calls for your immediate intervention in order to enable KSSH and BSPSH to resume their normal activities. Albanian workers rely on these organizations to defend their interests, to promote better working conditions and, most importantly, to work in collaboration with the government in order to eradicate child labour and to achieve the goals of Education for All. Your efforts in making sure that an immediate solution for this situation is found will be greatly appreciated.
Fred van Leeuwen