soL News talked with textile workers in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep following mass dismissals and anti-labour practices imposed by the capitalist forces as the Turkish economy has recently witnessed a significant deterioration.
Workers and a textile trade union previously announced that the factories in the region began to fire over a thousand of workers in two weeks as the labourers are forced to pay the price of the crisis with dismissals, mobbing, long and “flexible” working hours and low salaries.
Mass dismissals and anti-labour attacks resonance with the Turkish government’s statements about the economy as the presidential spokesperson recently indicated to “turning the crisis into an opportunity” with reference to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While the Turkish officials resort to a pure rhetoric, “We’re in the same boat”, the workers pay the price of the crisis as the capitalists enjoy bailout operations and debt restructuring packages.
In answer to a question about their working conditions, a textile worker told soL News that he worked for two years for a textile company called Şireci. “The chiefs never liked me since I paid attention to the oppression of workers,” he said, adding that supervisors even checked their restroom and meal times at the workplace.
The textile worker said that supervisors and chiefs behaved hypocritically, forcing the workers to change their shifts when they did not accept the impositions. Having worked in the textile sector for 15 years, the worker told soL News that most of the workers consulted him when they faced vocational problems. “I was talking to the workers about our rights and the things that should not have been imposed on them,” he said.
WORKERS FORCED TO WORK ON HOLIDAYS WITHOUT OVERTIME PAYS
The fired textile worker said that a supervisor had appealed to the administration to complain about him for “ruining the order of shift” just because he had objected to unfair working conditions at the factory. “They did not fire me because I was good at the job. But they changed my shift. When the new shift supervisor asked the former one about me, he warned him, saying, ‘Watch out for this man. He provokes the workers. Keep in your mind that the workers may complain about salaries and work shifts just because of this guy,’” he cited.
When the workers asked about extra working payments since they were forced to work for a night shift during a holiday, the factory chiefs rejected overtime pays, showing “the exit door” as the workers objected to this unfairness. “11 people, including me, did not go to work for the night shift on the second day of the holiday. The others worked. They wanted from us a written answer since we did not work,” he said.
WORKER QUESTIONED FOR LIKING A WORKERS’ PAGE ON FACEBOOK
The worker told soL News that he was questioned just because he had liked the Facebook page of “Workers from Gaziantep”, showing the pictures of his comments on the page. “One day, I saw some comments on the page about the problems at a factory. ‘Go on strike,’ one wrote, as I replied, ‘Unity is necessary for a strike,’” he said, adding that the administration called him to warn again as they shouted at him.
As he wanted to quit the job, he was directed to the accounting department that told him that he could leave the job but he could not receive the severance pays. “They just gave my severance payment. They did not give my receivables, holiday and food allowances,” he said.
In response to a question about the number of the workers at the factory, he said that some departments were sufficient while some others were not, adding that they were forced to work at many branches and some of them were even compelled to do toilet cleaning. “I was not member to any trade union. They even disliked the term of the trade union. The chiefs confronted us when any of us talked about a trade union,” he said.
‘I’VE WORKED WITHOUT TAKING A LEAVE FOR 2 YEARS’
Talking about the reason of dismissals, the textile worker pointed out to mobbing, saying that the supervisors were seeking for a pretext to fire the workers they did not favour. He underlined that he had not taken a leave for two years except one time when he had to deal with his child’s health problems.
“The pays were low. Most of the workers were on overtime since the pays were low. They were paying $23 for a 12-hour overtime work. They were sucking our blood in return for this money,” he said about the working conditions at the factory, adding that they even banned drinking tea at break times.
Talking about the work safety, he said that they could not get masks to protect themselves from dust, showing that the textile factory was not safe for the workers. Stating that they never receive their salaries in due time, the fired worker concluded that the workers should act against the arbitrary implementations and dismissals.