Turkish authorities, who are notorious for breaching the international labour standards, continue to violate fundamental labour rights through illegal tactics.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, unpaid leave has been used as a stick against workers which reveals the unequal impact of the pandemic in the labour market compared to the other segments of the society.
The workers of Systemair HSK, Ozer Electricity and Baldur factories -which are the Turkish supply chains in the metal industry of major multinational companies- have been put on unpaid leave or fired for joining a union (without any severance pay).
Birlesik Metal-Is (United Metal Workers’ Union) members decided to hold a protest march from Gebze, an industrial town in Kocaeli, to Ankara to fight back against the open and illegal assault on their right to freedom of association.
The police attacked the march and detained 99 people, including workers, union leaders and members of opposition political parties that stand in solidarity with the Birlesik Metal-Is.
Adnan Serdaroglu, the chairman of Birlesik Metal-Is said in a statement that there is a shameful process going on in the Turkey’s largest, most advanced industrial site “to keep the wheels turning.”
“The workers have a much higher risk of catching Covid than all other segments of the society. And these workers are condemned to low wages or put on unpaid leave or dismissed (…) for becoming a union member.” said Serdaroglu.
We urge all friends of labour to support this struggle of the metalworkers of Birlesik Metal-Is.