In solidarity with the oil workers

Only together shall we win!

Dear colleagues, comrades, union members, supporters and friends,

Since the last Sunday (16th of February) oil workers of the oil refinery in Ballsh are in hunger strike because of a lot of unpaid wages. They have stopped working at the oil refinery, and another protest took place today. In solidarity, leaders and members of the United Miners of Bulqiza Trade Union (SMBB) have joined the protest.

⚒ Declaration of support for Ballsh oil workers and Poçem substation workers:

Dear Ballsh Oilmen,
Dear employees of the Pochem pumping station and substation,

We have followed your difficult situation with special attention and concern. Failure to pay salaries for several months, uncertainty about the continuity of work and rights violations for years have driven you to the extreme decision to go on a hunger strike.

We have common problems and injustices, and opponents too. The state and the owners are complicit in our exploitation. Our only hope is to unite and organize into new, independent unions that think about the day-to-day problems of workers.

We call on the state institutions to take immediate action on your case so that this problem can be resolved once again and it will not have any impact on the health of the striking workers.

On behalf of the United Miners of Bulqiza Trade Union (SMBB), we express our full support for your rightful demands and strike, hoping that one day we will be able to unite the causes and strive together for our denied rights.

⚒ On February 18th, 1948, the mine of Bilqiza—the largest chrome mine in the country, was officially opened. Since then, millions of tons of chromium have come out of Bulqiza mountains, an immense wealth that has benefited many, but not the miners and people of Bulqiza. The town is one of the poorest in Albania, though it rests on fabulous wealth, while workers are exploited and underpaid.

Formerly, from the wealth of chromium, much of the country's economy was maintained. Owners and oligarchs today benefit tens of millions of euros a year. The miners remain equally exploited and maltreated—just like in the past, even today. There are hundreds of miners who have fallen martyrs into the depths of the galleries. There are hundreds of family tragedies, with missing children, parents or spouses.

However, with the establishment of the United Miners of Bulqiza Trade Union, great hope has arisen for the miners and the whole city. A union created by the workers themselves, those who face dangers in the depths of the galleries, and which aims to protect their rights. Only united and trusting each other we can do it and receive what belongs to us.

Since the only financial source of our trade union comes from the contributes of supporters, we call you to assist SMMB as far as possible. Any contribution, however modest, is of great help to us and the battle for the miners’ rights.

After a few weeks of trying in the state offices, it was very difficult for us to open a bank account for our union, with the following information:

Account Number: 0001449904 (Raiffeisen Bank Albania)
IBAN: AL72202110060000000001449904
Swift Code: SGSBALTX

Any contribution made will be reflected in greater transparency.
Solidarity is our only weapon!

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