COVID-19 Impact on Girls and Women Working in the Garment and Footwear Industry in Albania
For 5 consecutive years, Gender Alliance for Development Center (GADC), has been focusing on the improvement of the working conditions of women and girls working in the garment and footwear sector in Albania. Regarding the COVID 19 impact on women GADC wrote two reports:
“Due Diligence for women and girls working in the “Fason” Industry in Albania, from all actors involved in exploitation of their work throughout these years “
“Working as an animal! Women and girls working in the garment and footwear in Albania fighting for their rights” was another article prepared by GADC which reflected the extreme terrible situation and conditions in which women and girls in the sector face every day.
As well as a letter of recommendations for the Government of Albania in which GADC identified the problems which need urgent intervention regarding women’s well-being.
The workers in this sector apart very difficult working conditions, low salaries, health and safety insecurity, gender-based discrimination and many other problems, suffered the COVID-19 negative impacts. Many workers lost their jobs during the period March-April and have not received any payment from the employer or compensation from the government of Albania. Due to different problems with the compensation system run by Tax office many employees of this sector have not benefitted in time from the financial aid packages. This bad management left many of them for at least 3 months without salaries. For several weeks now, work has continued on a full-time basis in many of the factories.
However due to Covid-19 there is constant tension and dispute between workers and the owner. Numerous protests have been held by factory workers throughout Albania during the months of April, May, where they seek government assistance and the payment of days spent at home due to the fear from COVID-19.
Some factories in Kruja and Fushë-Krujë have started protests outside their workplaces, because they have not benefited from the government’s “war salary”. Employees say that during the period March-April they worked very few days and the salaries of these two months are not enough for their livelihood. Recall that Kruja has become one of the hottest hotspots in our country of the spread of Covid-19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic on March 8, the State Health Inspectorate has closed 17 factories for violating anti-Covid protocols. In an interview with TV Klan, Vjollca Braho, the director of the State Inspectorate of Health said that 672 factories operating in the country have been inspected two to three times. In one of the factories women have been given 5 masks since the beginning of the pandemic, which are no longer functional due to frequent washing. This is a situation that repeats its self in several factories. Social distance is rarely respected near some factories.
Some more links of protests
Factory workers protest in Vlora, 300 employees without salary and without government assistance
Protest of employees of clothing factories in Durrës, demand “war salary” from the government