Creating more and better jobs

ILO and Albania to create more and better jobs

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Albania will continue to work together to promote employment and enhance social protection under a new partnership agreement signed on 26 April 2017 in Tirana, Albania.

Press release | 26 April 2017
The fourth “Decent Work Country Programme” of Albania for the 2017 – 2021 period promotes decent work as a key to national development and is based on the previous successful cooperation between the ILO and Albania. 

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Minister of Social Welfare and Youth of Albania Olta Xhaçka, the ILO Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Heinz Koller, President of employers and business organization Business Albania Luan Bregasi, President of Confederation of Trade Unions of Albania Kol Nikollaj.

The Programme, which was developed with the participation of the Albanian government, employers’ organizations and trade unions, focuses on three jointly agreed key priorities:
  1. Promoting employment and an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises
  2. Strengthening the capacity of government institutions and social partners for effective social dialogue
  3. Enhancing social protection and conditions of work
The results and lessons learnt from implementation of the previous Decent Work Country Programme of Albania for 2012-2015 and its assessment have also been taken into account.

More and better jobs are needed

Albania was one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe before the global financial crisis, with average annual real growth rates of 6 per cent, accompanied by rapid reduction in poverty. However, it is evident that the growth in the Albanian economy did not always lead to the creation of more jobs particularly for women and youth. Although the unemployment rate for young people (15-29 years) declined, it remains very high at 29.9 %, highlighting substantial skill mismatches. There is a need for a deep transformation of the services the employment offices and training institutions offer.

Agriculture continues to be the sector employing the majority of the population, with approximately 45.3 per cent of the work force, whereas the private non-agricultural sector has a very low weight, being incapable of absorbing the growing demand of employment generated by the demographic, social and economic structural changes. As a result, Albania still has high levels of labour migration and informal employment. The production system still suffers from lack of entrepreneurial culture. The Albanian Government has launched a reform process that, along with other measures to be taken aiming to sound the economic situation, should enable the necessary environment for sustainable enterprises.

Effectiveness of both tripartite and bipartite social dialogue at various levels, including the regional one, is still to be improved. The 2015 Labour Code provides for the establishment of regional tripartite councils as part of the national institutional infrastructure of tripartite social dialogue and expression of the political will of the national tripartite constituents to expand and make tripartite social dialogue more inclusive and participatory.

In spite of the assistance of the ILO and the efforts of its stakeholders in fighting the worst forms of child labour, recent reports demonstrate its persistence in Albania. Much remains to be done to improve the performance of the Labour Inspection services and to increase the effectiveness of both tripartite and bipartite social dialogue at various levels, including the regional one.

To address these challenges, the first priority is to promote employment and an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises. The ILO will continue its support to the implementation of the National Employment and Skills Strategy (NESS) 2014-2020 to be more expedient in the matching of job vacancies and jobseekers, both through the case management and the vacancy follow up. It will support the creation of a coordination mechanism on employment issues between tripartite bodies. The ILO Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprise ("EESE") Toolkit will guide organizations in their efforts to better understand the EESE and to enhance their evidence-based contribution to government reform efforts through advocacy and dialogue. In order to minimize the economic and social costs of emigration, and to improve working conditions of migrant workers abroad the ILO will provide technical advice to the Labour Migration Services in establishing opportunities for regular mobility to countries of interest and enhancing pre-departure information provided to migrants.

The second priority seeks to strengthen the capacity of government institutions and social partners for effective social dialogue. The ILO will continue to assist the tripartite constituents to define a set of objectives, to check criteria for participation in tripartite and bipartite social dialogue at national and regional levels, and to enhance the technical capacity of social dialogue institutions. The ILO will also continue to support the tripartite constituents in the implementation of the newly adopted Labour Code provisions to increase the effectiveness of collective bargaining and labour dispute resolution. The DWCP will aim to enhance the capacity of the social partners. In particular, it will enable employers’ and workers’ organizations to deliver value to their members through targeted, timely and useful services and thus become more relevant and representative.

Finally, the third priority aims to enhance social protection and conditions of work. The ILO’s strategy in Albania will be to increase the capacity of the government and Social Partners to combat the worst forms of child labour. The ILO will provide technical assistance to enhance national capacity for wage fixing in compliance with international standards. In order to improve the wage policies the ILO will provide technical support for the effective implementation of the Protection of Workers’ Claims (Employers’ Insolvency) Convention, 1992 (No. 173). The strengthening and enhancing of the capacity of the labour inspection system will be carried to support the implementation of the OSH action plan and to promote gender-responsive formalization of the economy.

The programme will be implemented during a five year period until 2021. The parties confirmed their commitment to cooperate in the programme’s implementation which will be regularly monitored.