The administrators of Turkish cosmetics company Flormar have distributed a brochure on November 19 to the workers, calling on them for whistleblowing about their co-workers who have been in resistance for 180 days since they were fired because of their membership to a trade union.
Calling on the workers who are still working at the factory for whistleblowing about their resisting fellows out of the workplace, the “hotline” brochure came after the 180th day of the workers’ resistance at the French Yves Rocher-related Flormar company in the industrial Turkish district of Gebze, near İstanbul.
The Flormar bosses’ brochure, “Don’t be a bystander, don’t support, inform”, coincided with the resisting workers’ initial hearings at Turkish labour courts where the workers resorted after they had been dismissed unlawfully. The brochure apparently aims to break the resistance of the fired workers, and to cut their relations with their fellow workers who are continuing to work at the same workplace. The cosmetics bosses also promise the whistleblowing workers to keep their names “anonymous”.
The fired cosmetics workers are continuing their resistance in front of the factory building while waging a legal struggle at the same time against the Flormar bosses’ unlawful and anti-labour implementations. The workers say that the most important irregularity of the employer is that they were trying to prevent the workers’ constitutional right to unionisation at the workplace, while the employer’s attorneys claim that “the workers had invaded, had not started the machines, had stopped the production”.
FALSE STATEMENTS FROM THE BOSSES
One of the workers, Abdullah, told soL: “They fired us on the charge of stopping the production. They also fired those who waved at the resisting workers. But nobody was interrogated, they have no evidence. We were fired just because we were trade union members. We are waging a just struggle. The representative administrators of Flormar bosses are making false and groundless statements.”
Abdullah noted that the administrators of Flormar had compelled them to leave the trade union, and the dismissals had started following the authorization of their trade union organization by the Labour Ministry, adding that the employer’s representatives were lying at the court by showing the false reason of “stopping the production”.
He also said that the Flormar administration had dismissed them according to a specific legal article so that they could not be eligible to receive unemployment payments. He underlined that after they had unionized, the company had offered to some workers 500 Turkish Liras as “the price of loyalty to the boss”. “That’s a kind of bribery for the workers who did not participate the trade union activities,” he said.
Nurhan, another dismissed worker from Flormar, said that the dismissals had started as of May 15 following unionization. “70-80 workers were fired that day. Later, it reached up to 132. We are seeking for our rights through the court,” she said, adding that they had been accused of illegal organizational protests, even their co-workers had been fired just because they had waved at their resisting friends in front of the factory.
Noting that the workers who are still working are supporting the resisting workers, the fired worker said, “We have more than 90 fellow workers, trade union members, now inside,” she told soL “We could not receive any compensations. We are waiting for the end of the court process. We never did anything illegal,” she said, calling on everyone to boycott the Flormar products.
‘THEY’RE TRYING TO INFLUENCE THE COURT WITH SLANDERS’
Şivan Kırmızıçiçek, a workplace representative from Petrol-İş trade union, talked about the ongoing legal process. She said that the lawsuits of 132 workers had started in September at 8 different labour courts. “Of course, the employers’ witnesses also came. They made many false statements. They are trying to influence the court with such slanders,” she noted, indicating to the ministerial inspection reports showing the workers’ membership to a trade union as the real reason of dismissals.
Kırmızıçiçek underlined that the Flormar administrators had framed a plot against the workers. “The administrators themselves messed the machines around, scattered the products and recorded with a camera in order to show the workers unjust. They tried to reflect the situation as if the trade union member workers had done it,” she said, adding that the employer was trying to act with false statements and slanders.
She also addressed the public opinion, saying that they would continue the resistance resolutely and faithfully even after 6 months passed. She added that the cosmetics workers were not resisting only for themselves, but also for the entire workers from various sectors in the country.
As the struggle of the workers continues, one of the workers, Serdar Yıldırım, won the legal case he opened against Flormar. The court ruled in October that Yıldırım would be reinstated his position at the factory, and that he would be given 4 gross pays and 5 net pays. The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) has supported the Flormar workers’ resistance from the very beginning.