In order to protect labor rights, unions must be formed, an action that requires courage from workers in the face of the leaders of the respective companies. But, a union organization of employees would help to first clarify the relations between workers and owners in individual terms, and later also in relation to the collective rights expressed through a contract.

For several years, "Together for Life" has monitored the observance of employees' rights in the Call Center Sector. Currently, the Call Center Sector is proving to be a very potential employer in Albania. About 25,000 citizens are employed there and the income that this sector brings to the Albanian economy is significant. From an economic point of view, the payments in the Call Center Sector are satisfactory and, in conditions when it is difficult to find another job, the life expectancy in a job in this sector is relatively long.

Some of the concerns related to this profession have to do with the aspect of workload pressure as well as the health, physical or mental aspects caused by the monotony, the intensity of the rhythms, the lack of prospects for a professional career in this sector, etc. Some problems related to working conditions have their weight such as the technological quality of audio-video equipment, noise in the workplace, etc.

The monitoring has shown the need to increase the control activity of the State Labor and Social Services Inspectorate for the observance of employees' rights, the effective functioning of the Occupational Safety and Health Councils, the promotion and active action of trade unions to represent the interests of employees , raising the awareness of employees of this sector to protect labor rights, decent work and freedom of association, etc.

The Together for Life Association, with the support of the Olof Palme International Center and with funds from the Swedish Embassy in Tirana, has trained a group of active young people, related to trade unionism; the importance of trade union organization; what are the obligations of the union to its members; different ways of organizing the union in defense of employees' rights; guarantees of being part of a union and what are collective agreements etc.

For the realization of this training, the association Together for life (TFL) has closely cooperated with the Telecommunication Union (TUT). Because in addition to theoretical preparation, interested young people will participate in various TUT activities to see in practice what it means to be a trade unionist and how.

But what are unions and what does the Albanian Law provide ?! For the association Together for Life, lawyer Andia Haxhia explains the legislation on trade union organization, and how trade unions work.

Andia Haxhia, lawyer

After the 1990s and the overthrow of the communist totalitarian regime, Albania embarked on the path of democracy, transforming from a centralized economy to a free market-based economy. The new political and economic basis influenced the creation of a new legal system, which includes the right to work, social protection and employment.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Albaniaeveryone has the right to earn a living through legal work, which he has chosen or accepted. He is free to choose the profession, the job, as well as the system of his professional qualification.

Referring to article 49 / point 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Albania "Employees have the right to social protection at work".

Based on the legislation in force, the form of protection at work is the organization in trade unions, but what do we mean by trade union organization ?!

According to the Labor Code, trade unions are independent social organizations, created as voluntary unions of employees, whose purpose is to represent and protect the economic, professional and social rights and interests of their members. Retirees and the unemployed also have the right to join unions.

The right to organize in trade unions is a right that is provided and guaranteed in the first place by the Constitution of the Republic of Albania:

CHAPTER IV ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS provides:

Employees have the right to freely join trade unions to protect their labor interests.

Likewise, the Labor Code sanctions in Chapter III / B “B “TRADE UNION FREEDOM. COLLECTIVE DISCUSSIONS ”, article 10:“Freedom of association is protected by law. 2. No one has the right: a) to condition the employment of the employee whether or not he is or ceases to be a member of a union established by law; b) to terminate or violate the right of the employee due to membership or not in a trade union established by law or participation in trade union activities in compliance with applicable law."

So, as we see, the purpose of organizing in unions is to protect the interests of labor!

But how do trade unions work?

Trade unions function by freely organizing their administration and activity; freely drafting their program but always in accordance with applicable law. Regarding the act of creation and the statute, the law states that they must be signed by not less than 20 founding members and the acquisition of legal personality is related to the moment of submitting the act of creation and the statute to the Court of Tirana for their recognition as a legal entity. . Legal personality is acquired after 60 days from the submission of the statute to the Court of Tirana, except in cases when the court gives the opposite decision. Each trade union organization must submit a copy of its statute and court decision to the ministry responsible for the work.

Once the above steps have been completed, any trade union organization recognized as a legal entity can go to court to protect the interests of each of its members, to achieve the implementation by the employer of the provisions of the law, collective or individual employment contract ./ Together for Life