Since its legal recognition on 27 November 2019, the Trade Union of United Miners of Bulqiza (SMBB) has been faced with systematic dismissals of its members. The chairman of the union, Elton Debreshi, was dismissed by AlbChrome, the biggest chromium mining company operating in Albania, only days after the union formation. In response, the workers went on strike, demanding the reinstatement of their union leader. In the days that followed, other union leaders and activists were temporarily detained and interrogated by the police.
While the strike was ended by workers on the promise by the local labour inspectorate that the issue of the dismissal of trade unionists would be swiftly reviewed, in December 2019, AlbChrome fired three other members of the union executive committee: Beqir Duriçi, Behar Gjimi and Ali Gjeta. In addition, many workers were threatened with dismissal if they joined the new union or continued to be members. Since then, SMBB has taken the dismissal cases to court and to the commissioner for protection from discrimination (CPD). In November 2020, the CPD concluded that the leaders of SMBB had been discriminated against by AlbChrome due to their trade union activity. Meanwhile, the court cases were still pending and the four union leaders were still awaiting their reinstatement.