Arrest of firm owners due to workers’ deaths highlights unimproved working conditions

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 8, 2019 09:21

Arrest of firm owners due to workers’ deaths highlights unimproved working conditions

TIRANA, Sept. 8 – In Tirana, police detained the owner of a firm responsible for the deaths of two workers in mid-August on Sunday. 

The number of workers who lost their lives while working in construction sites and manufacturing firms has gone up to 25 this year.

Unions complain about the low level of job safety, but they say high unemployment is the main reason that workers agree to work under these conditions and at low wages.

Tirana police announced today that they have arrested the owner of the firm “Skela Syla”, three weeks after the tragic incident on the outskirts of Tirana, where two construction workers lost their lives during work.

46-year-old Petrit Syla is the second person to be held responsible by the prosecution for the deaths of two workers, as iron bars were broke away from a building during reconstruction.

The prosecution sought his and another person’s detention after the deaths of two 31 and 36-year-old workers.

Jimmy Company with three years of experience, and Skela Syla with 11 years of experience are under investigation for the incident.

The former was never inspected by the authorities, while the second was thoroughly inspected 16 times in a decade.

Accidents of workers in construction sites and manufacturing firms are frequent in Albania.

From January to today, 99 incidents have been registered in 9 months, of which 25 workers lost their lives and almost all (21 cases) belong to the construction sector.

The State Labor Inspectorate has investigated 114 private entities on how they treat workers, and has imposed 34 penalties and 29 administrative penalties to affect worker safety and maintain their occupational health.

The weak and powerless unions often complain in Albania of low safeguards across labor and production sites.

The vast majority of accidents at work are in the construction, mining, energy, water and public utilities sectors, while Albania remains among the countries with a high rate of accidents at work.

The EU average is 1.8 deaths per 100,000 workers, while Albania has so far this year averaged at least 4 times higher deaths than the European Union.

Albania is generally in dire straits in terms of poor working conditions and low wages for some, and high unemployment for the rest of the population.

Mining is the most dangerous sector, with minimal working conditions and where miners continue to lose their lives.

In the last 5 years, 42 miners have lost their lives at the workplace.

The towns near the Albanian mines are extremely poor and many minors are used for various jobs.

Economics scholars claim that the government’s efforts to open new jobs are insufficient., as according to them real unemployment is at least 2 to 3 times higher than government statistics.

High unemployment is the main reason why workers agree to work in difficult and low-wage conditions for fear of immediate replacement.

The vast majority of the unemployed are migrating to other countries to survive, instead of chasing after a better life, leaving deep poverty behind.

Workers in Albania are not treated with dignity, say economic observers, but rather with low wages and insurances, poor health care and no technical conditions, while also working on weekends and having other rights as workers and citizens violated.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 8, 2019 09:21