Seven workers working at TARİŞ Cotton and Oil Seeds Agricultural Sales Cooperatives Union in Turkey’s western province of Izmir have been fired by the factory administration on the pretext of their membership to the Union of Food Industry Workers of Turkey (Gıda-İş). Upon the decision of the factory administration, all workers affiliated to Gıda-İş started to protest inside the factory to be in solidarity with the dismissed workers on Nov 6-7. While the police detained 65 workers and trade union leaders during the protests, they were released at 7:00 a.m. on Nov 7.
In his press statement in front of the factory, Seyit Aslan, the President of Gıda-İş Union, underlined that employers did not respond to the workers’ demands for negotiation and the union members will go on their struggle until the dismissed workers are reinstated.
"Those responsible for this unlawfulness will be brought to account. We demand that the dismissed workers must be reinstated and the relevant authorities should engage in a dialogue with our trade union. If they do not put an effort for a dialogue, our struggle will continue," Aslan also stated.
SO-CALLED REASON BEHIND DISMISSALS IS ‘SUPERNUMERARY’
Murat Yılmaz, one of the dismissed workers, said that the factory management did not accept the unionization at the workplace by ignoring the will of the workers.
Yılmaz noted that "The employer put a pressure on workers to prevent us from joining the union. At 17:30 p.m., seven workers were dismissed on the pretext of 'supernumerary'. Yet, we aware of that we have been dismissed because of our union activities. We expect all public opinion and democratic forces to support our resistance to continue until all workers are reinstated and the union is recognized by the factory management."
Stating that they have been fired due to their membership to the labour union, other dismissed workers also told: "Being a member of a labour union is a constitutional right. Therefore, it is a crime to dismiss workers on the pretext of union activities. We have been threatening for months, and finally, we have been fired."
"UNTIL THE DISMISSED WORKERS TAKE THEIR JOBS BACK"
On Nov 7, Gıda-İş Union made a press statement in front of the factory about the workers’ protests and the attitude of the factory management. Representatives of various labour unions and political parties also supported the statement.
In the press statement, Aslan noted: "We demanded TARİŞ for a meeting twice. They said, ‘We don’t want to employ the unionized workers’. Why are the laws not enforced when the workers are forced to resign? Will these laws always be on the side of employers? Unless the rights and freedoms of workers are guaranteed, it is impossible to talk about democracy. Our colleagues were detained night long. Is there a crime to detain them? No!"
"The workers used their legal rights. Our demand is to be able to get enough salary to live in humane conditions. We want the labour union to be recognized by the factory management and a collective agreement. We will continue our struggle until the dismissed workers take their jobs back. They have been punished because they used their union rights," he concluded.
Memiş Sarı, the Aegean District Representative of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), also said, "Those who declare themselves as democrats deem the minimum wage to be proper for workers. If our demands are not accepted, we will call the people of Izmir for a boycott of TARİŞ products."