Shoe-upper workers at İzmir Işıkkent shoe makers site in Turkey are subject to extortion of their rights. The workers had caught public attention in the past due to low wages.
The shoe-upper workers producing the upper part of the shoe manufacture the artificial or natural leather and textile products with machinery in order to reshape it suitable for the model of the shoe. The workers in Turkey who went on strikes in several different cities of Turkey, such as Adana, İzmir, Konya, Antep and Manisa face layoffs and pay cuts due to shut down of workshops or halt of production.
As reported in Evrensel daily, 35 of the shoe workshops in İzmir Işıkkent shoemakers site that hosts hundreds of shoe workshops closed down and left hundreds unemployed. Piecework wages are expected to decrease in the new production season in the industrial district where many of the workshops halt their production.
“PROTESTS WILL START IF THE WAGES DO NOT INCREASE”
Workers claimed that they were being paid 2 Turkish Liras for knitting a shoe-upper, which shall be knitted for 10 Liras. The workers continued saying that “shoe producers are hungry. Weekly cost of a workshop is 250 Liras when there is no production. We have not been working for months. Large-scale producers keep the piecework wages low and they are stockpiling. 65% of the women shoes are manufactured in İzmir and then it is distributed to the whole country. If the wages are not improved as required in January, when the season is opened, protests will start again. Many of my friends think the same way, or else we all need to halt producing. Only organized shoe upper workers may fix these problems”.
Halil, a Syrian shoe-upper worker, who stated that they are working under the wages they once rejected due to the decrease in production told that: “Large-scale companies halted production and became wholesalers. They are employing Syrians informally. The production decreased by 70%. I believe that the Syrians will also support if protests start again as happened before”.
Before, the protests of the shoe-upper workers demanding raise in piecework wages and their social security rights spread to Adana, İzmir, Konya, Antep and Manisa from İstanbul. Syrian workers also participated in strikes in the shoe-upper production workshops.