ILO and SIDA launch new initiative in Albania to improve access to justice for all workers through amicable resolution of labour disputes

Monday, 3 February, 2020

Tirana, Albania – The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Government of Sweden have launched a new initiative in Albania aiming to enhance the system of extra-judicial labour dispute resolution so as to offer an easy, faster and cheaper access to justice in particular to vulnerable workers. The three-year initiative, “Access to Justice in Labour Disputes” project, is implemented in Albania by the ILO with the financial support of the Government of Sweden. According to the annual statistical report of the Ministry of Justice, 3060 labour related lawsuits were filed in Albanian courts only in 2018. Court systems are overloaded with labour dispute cases, leading to delays in some cases and rising costs for both workers and employers. 

“Sweden is a strong supporter of HR, including labor rights. In Albania, we see a clear need for strengthening the rights of the workers and the instruments defending them like workers organization in unions groups, and the mechanism for labor dispute mediation established by the Government of Albania. We feel that the low-skills, informal, part-time workers, those working in the hazardous industries like mining, oil extraction, facon enterprises, whose rights are often neglected are in particular need of support. It is especially this workers category also have less opportunities to solve their labor disputes through the formal judiciary system due to associated costs and limited legal literacy. In addition, we will support the enhancement of the courts’ ability to address legal dispute cases in line with the agreed labor rights standards. Thus, Sweden is providing 11,3 MSEK or around 1,2 Million USD over a three years period to increase the effectiveness of the existing alternative dispute resolution system and ensure better protection of labor related rights for all workers in Albania. ILO and Ministry of Finance and Economy are our direct partners in implementing this initiative”, said Ms Petra Burcher, Head of Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in Albania (SIDA). 

“Albania has made efforts to improve the system of prevention and out of court resolution of labour disputes, nevertheless several legal and practical challenges of the existing system limit its effectiveness and outreach. At present, the most vulnerable workers, for instance informal workers, or those employed in precarious forms of employment, do have neither access to existing resolution mechanisms because they are invisible for the law, nor the means to accede it. Our intention is to build the capacity of the government and social partners to revisit the current system and to improve its effectiveness and outreach to these categories of workers. At the same time, we believe it is very important to foster a culture of amicable resolution of labour disputes through negotiation, not only among today’s workers and employers but also among future workers and employers“, said Ms. Cristina Mihes, ILO Senior Specialist for social dialogue and labour law.  

On 3 February 2020, the launch event brought together representatives of SIDA, ILO, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, members of the National Labour Council, employers’ and workers’ organisations, mediators and conciliators, judges, other relevant state institutions, judges, civil society and development cooperation partners. 
The project will facilitate multi-stakeholders reflection and provide evidence based policy and technical advice to policy makers and practitioners so as to improve its effectiveness and outreach. It will train labour mediators and conciliators, promote the advantages of peaceful settlement of labour disputes and build up negotiation and dispute prevention skills of future workers and employers. It will also upscale the application of international labour standards by national judges handling labour disputes. 
 
About ILO-Sweden Cooperation 
Sweden is one of the founding member States of the ILO, and is a key partner in promoting the Decent Work Agenda. Sweden has ratified 4 Protocols and 94 Conventions, which include the eight Fundamental Conventions, the four prioritized Governance Conventions, and 82 Technical Conventions. Sweden strongly supports ILO’s efforts to provide decent work and better living standards for women and men. Sweden contributes to the regular budget of the ILO and its development cooperation programmes. For more information about the ILO-Sweden cooperation, please visit: 
https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---exrel/documents...
 
About Decent Work Country Programme of Albania 2017 - 2021 
With permanent presence in the country since 2002 and assistance through the Decent Work Country Programs (DWCP), the ILO supports the country in overcoming the challenges. The current DWCP 20172021  focuses on job creation, social protection, and improved social dialogue. 
Albania has ratified 54 ILO Conventions including the 8 Fundamental Conventions, the 4 Governance Conventions and 42 Technical Conventions.  
For more information, please visit    
https://www.ilo.org/budapest/countries-covered/albania/WCMS_461305/lang-...
 
About Access to justice in Labour Dispute through Mediation and Conciliation Project 
The Access to justice in Labour Dispute through Mediation and Conciliation Project funded by the Governments of Sweden aims to improve access to justice for all, including vulnerable groups of workers through peaceful settlement of labour disputes, collective bargaining and collective agreements, and the creation of informed policies on amicable settlements of labour disputes.  

For more information, please visit   
https://www.ilo.org/budapest/what-we-do/projects/WCMS_724741/lang--en/in...