Access to Justice in Labour Disputes through Mediation and Conciliation in Albania

The project aims to improve access to justice for all, including vulnerable groups of workers through peaceful settlement of labour disputes, collective bargaining and collective agreements, and the creation of informed policies on amicable settlements of labour disputes.

In Albania, there is no special jurisdiction for labour disputes. Labour disputes are brought before the already overloaded ordinary courts along with other civil disputes.  Labour litigations often last over five years, considerably delaying access to justice. Efforts have been made to improve the system of prevention and out of court resolution of labour disputes, nevertheless several legal and practical challenges of the existing system limit its effectiveness.

The project will support the Albanian stakeholders (government, social partners, National Labour Council, labour dispute mediators and conciliators and other relevant institutions, including the judiciary) to revisit the current system and to improve its outreach. It will build the capacity of the government and social partners so that they can construct the extra-judicial mechanism for labour dispute resolution, and will train labour mediators, conciliators and arbitrators. The project will promote the advantages of peaceful settlement of labour disputes and build up negotiation and dispute prevention skills of would-be workers and employers. It will upscale the application of international labour standards by national judges handling labour disputes.

The project will build on the capacity of the government responsible structures and the social partners to reach the following goals:

a)    increase recourse to conciliation, mediation or voluntary arbitration for peaceful settlement of labour disputes;
b)    engage more actively in collective bargaining and use collective agreements and workplace procedures to handle grievances at the workplace;
c)    be able to devise and implement informed policies in the prevention and peaceful settlement of labour disputes; and
d)    improve access to justice for vulnerable workers (youth, women, informal, low-skilled).