Albania chrome miner hunger strike enters eighth day

Reuters reported that a hunger strike by chrome miners against Albania’s largest employer, DCM DECOmetal, entered its eighth day on Tuesday as the two sides appeared closer to negotiating an end to a month long dispute.

The miners have been fasting 1,685 metres below ground in the Bulqize mine, sleeping on makeshifts beds of cardboard and old blankets since Monday a week ago.

They have been pressing Austrian miner DCM DECOmetal for a pay rise of 20% to 40%, a change in local management and better working conditions.

The company on Sunday agreed to a 20% wage rise.

Union leader Mr Koleci has said the miners are paid an average of ALL 38,000 to ALL 40,000 (EUR 272.5 to EUR 287) per month and a food bonus of ALL 500 per day.

DCM DECOmetal has a 20-30 year concession for the Bulqize mine, the richest chrome area in Albania, as well as operating ferrochromium smelters at Elbasan. It has been producing 70,000 tonnes of ore and 3,000 tonnes of ferrochrome per year.

Albania once ranked as the world’s third biggest chrome exporter under communism but is now a second tier producer of the ore and ferrochrome.


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