We, United Textile Workers Union (BIRTEK-SEN), with our members, executives and numbers of volunteers have been mobilized, day and night, to relieve the injuries caused by the earthquake chiefly in central Gaziantep and its districts as well as other affected cities such as Maras, Adiyaman and Malatya.
In collaboration with Nar Art Society, we set up a coordination and relief distribution centre in Gaziantep. And we have relief distribution teams in other cities. We deliver life-sustaining materials to thousands of people such as food, clothes, blankets, tents, heaters, and personal hygiene items, especially for women and children in these areas.
The catastrophic earthquake has already inflicted deep wounds in millions of lives. It will take a very long time for these wounds to be attended, for such a major grievance to disappear.
There are hundreds of thousands of workers living in this region hit by the quake, majority of whom are working in the textile industry. They work for poor wages, under irregular, insecure and extremely heavy working conditions, living in poverty, so they are one of the social sectors most affected by the destruction of the quake. This includes migrant/refugee workers and their families as well, who have been exposed to racist, xenophobic and discriminative practices. Despite all these violations they face, migrant/refugee workers quickly became a part of local solidarity networks we set up in the field.
BIRTEK-SEN puts in special effort to reach out to workers and their families. Bosses in the region, specifically in the Organised Industrial Zone in Gaziantep dared to call workers whose houses were hit by the quake, who lost many members in their families back to production on the sixth day. And in the middle of such pain workers feel that they are obliged to work in order to survive. Our union tries hard to organize workers around the collective demands for an additional paid leave for another week, one-month-pay quake relief, housing benefit for 6 months, a ban on termination of labour contracts at least for 6 months, and an increase in wages at 70 per cent.
All the work we have achieved so far we could manage thanks to our members, organisations and people that are our friends.
We call on all workers in Turkey and other countries, all the unions and democratic organisations, all of our friends for sustaining and strengthening solidarity.
Long live international solidarity among working people!
United Textile Weaving and Leather Workers Union
📞+90 554 771 82 27
Twitter : @birlesiktekstil
Web : birteksen.org
Donations can be made to Birtek-Sen at:
BİRLEŞİK TEKSTİL DOKUMA VE DERİ İŞÇİLERİ SENDİKASI
IBAN: TR 8100 0100 1156 9761 6266 5003
Swift Kod : ZKBATRIS