Unions in Post-Communist Albania: Problems of Organization and Solidarity in the Times Crisis
As Albania is preparing for EU membership, issues such as informality and the social partners have recently received considerable attention. These processes have developed in parallel with the global economic crisis and the current government’s project of economic development. The questions we ask in this paper are: What is the current state of trade unionism in Albania? How do the formalization of employment relations and the tripartite system affect their position? What is the impact of the economic crisis on the unions’ position and strategies?
In our analysis we find two contradictory trends. Formalization of employment relations and the establishment of the tripartite system create the grounds for stronger union activity. Meanwhile the government appeals to international investors from countries affected by the crisis such as Italy are based on the argument that ‘there are no trade unions here’. Meanwhile, the Albanian workforce reaction to the crisis has gone in both directions: exit through emigration as a reaction to increased poverty, and return from migration (especially in the case of Greece and partially Italy) as a reaction to increased unemployment.