BIRN Albania, a Tirana-based non-governmental media organization that specializes in investigative reports, interviewed young workers, who confirm that they experienced major problems during their work in the manufacture of footwear and clothing.
Heavy odors, air saturated with chemicals and lack of protective devices are the main problems that arise inside these buildings. Various surveys report very high numbers of minors who work, a practice that goes against the laws established for underage workers. The exploitation of minors in the workplace is a constant topic in Albania and as reported by a 2017 UNESCO study, about 5,2% of children aged between 7 and 14 work, while following compulsory studies.
However, the Labor Inspectorate guarantees that the number of minors employed in this industry is decreasing. According to their checks, the number of minors employed in 2017 was 108, decreased to 67 between January-September 2019.
Gjergji Gjika, Chairman of the Chamber of Fasonists in Albania, considers child labor as the result of inherited poverty, also caused by the high level of poverty of the country in general and states that today, unlike in the past, the employment of children between 14 or 15 in this sector is not contemplated.
“In Albania, labor legislation is often violated. Among the most obvious violations we can mention the fact that minors are employed in dangerous jobs, in addition to other violations that can follow " says the lawyer Holta Ymeri for BIRN.
The representative of theInstitute for Social Criticism and Emancipation, Arlind Qori, who conducted two studies on workers' rights, told BIRN that parental unemployment is the main cause for children to look for work.
“Generally it is the serious economic situation that pushes parents to bring their children to work. Making a law and enforcing it is a challenge and we are extremely far away. We are in a situation where workers in Albania have fewer rights compared to other moments in Albania's history " said Qori for BIRN.
During 2019, the Inspectorate imposed only a fine of 260 Lek (about two thousand euros), for serious violations. For others, just a warning.
You can consult the original article in Albanian on reporter.al
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