Trade Unions

Trade Unions

Albanian workers and enterprise managers had little significant influence until the old order began breaking down in 1990. Workers for decades had no recourse but to rely on government-controlled trade unions to protect their interests, but the ruling party used these unions only as mouthpieces to implore workers to produce more and accept more sacrifices. Independent trade unions arose from the ashes of the official labor organizations in each of the economy's major sectors. In 1991 union representatives pressed government officials for concessions on issues of wages and working conditions, a general labor contract, and wage indexing to mitigate the effects of inflation. They also demanded social security guarantees, reestablishment of electrical service in many towns, and deliveries of raw materials to idle factories. Management often backed the workers' demands to the government. The were strikes as well as mass protests in central Tiranė and elsewhere. In mid-1991, the Council of Ministers drafted a law on labor relations that eliminated the job security Albanian workers had enjoyed under the communist system, allowing firms to dismiss workers who violated disciplinary standards.


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