The Institute for Social Policy Musine Kokalari in Prishtina, the Center for the Politics of Emancipation in Belgrade, and the Center for Critique and Social Emancipation in Tirana collaborated to host the Regional Conference on Decent Work in the Western Balkans in Durres, Albania 0n September 28-30, 2023. The conference brought together over 20 organizations and experts from across the Western Balkans, representing diverse perspectives and backgrounds.

The highlight of the conference was the creation of a collaborative “Manifesto on Decent Work”. This manifesto outlines the core principles and objectives that the newly formed regional coalition will pursue collectively.

All of our countries face the same problems: poverty, low wages, poor quality jobs, precarious and unsafe work, and dependency on foreign direct investments. In light of these challenges, we stand united in our commitment to achieving decent work for all in the Western Balkans. We firmly believe that regional cooperation and solidarity are essential to addressing these issues effectively. We call upon the governments, trade unions and companies operating in our region to join us in struggle for living wages, better social protection, sustainable development and increased level of labor rights. Western Balkans countries should enhance regional cooperation, sharing best practices, knowledge, and resources to address common labor challenges. Regional solidarity among workers, unions, and civil society organizations is crucial to advancing decent work throughout the region.

Link to the Manifesto & signing organizations:

The conference featured panel discussions on socio-economic changes and changes in labor legislation that have taken place in the region in recent decades, as well as interactive workshops focusing on the living wage, unpaid care work, occupational health and safety, trade union organizing, platform work and precarious forms of employment. These workshops provided a platform for attendees to exchange ideas, strategies, and best practices from across the region in promoting fair and equitable working conditions in the Western Balkans.

This project is winner of the EDI Community Choices Award, which has been supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the EFB, a collaborative hosted by the Network of European Foundations. The contents of all documents produced by implementing this project are those of the grantee and do not necessarily represent the views of the GFFO or EFB.

October 3, 2023