Bulqiza { 17 images } Created 29 Mar 2012

Bulqize is a town in eastern Albania and is one of the richest areas in chrome in the Balkans. On the 4th of July 2011, the miners of the chrome mine in Bulqize which is run by Albanian Chrome Sh.p.k.(ACR) a division of DCM DECOmetal have downed their tools to protest for better working conditions, a wage increase of 20% and preserving of the future of the mine itself.

The miners started their protest in Bulqize, after 16 days of general strikes and protests the miners went to the capital and protested for 5 days in Tirana in front of the PM Sali Berisha's office and camped in a park nearby the office. Finally they decided to return to Bulqize, due to no hearings by the current government and a group of 15 miners went 1400 meters underground and started a hunger strike.
On the sixth of October, after three months of strike which was the longest industrial action since the communism fell in the 1990 and long negotiations, the workers went back to work after agreeing a deal with the management, which included a wage increase by 20%. Just twelve days later on Level 16 (1600m underground) a massive explosion took place and one miner died and two out of seven wounded are fighting for their lives.

After the incident the Union for Inspection and rescue of mines (RISHM)closed the mine till the company fulfills the security requirements in the galleries. After the mine closed and ACR still not paid the wages for the workers during the months of strike the life of the miners became more and more difficult. So they were forced to work in other mines e.g. abandoned mines in such a way risking their own lives. As a result of working in unsafe mines another deadly accident took place on the 11th of November in the area D of the chrome mining area in Bulqiza.

Within the last three years fifteen miners have died in the area of Bulqize.

[UPDATE: Two miners died at the end of October 2012, caused by a lack of security measures]
View: 25 | All