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ITF urges end to anti-union pressure on Turkish workers

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TÜMTIS representative BÜLENT ÖZASLAN, one of two workers still to be reinstated

TÜMTIS representative BÜLENT ÖZASLAN, one of two workers still to be reinstated

The ITF has urged the Turkish prime minister to intervene urgently to end reported ongoing union busting practices by management at Gazi-Ulaş Transportation – the Gaziantep municipality’s urban transportation company.

24/08/2016 – Since the federation first protested on 28 July, meetings between ITF union Tümtis and the company’s management have resulted in the reinstatement of nine workers. However, the union has told the ITF that two workers remain dismissed and that other workers are being threatened with dismissal if they do not resign their Tümtis membership and join Öz Taşıma-İş. Tümtis has told the ITF that the company admitted recruiting members for Öz Taşıma-İş at a recent meeting with the mayor.

In his letter to prime minister Binali Yildirim on 18 August, ITF general secretary Steve Cotton said: “The municipality has also transferred 137 tramway workers from Gazi-Bel (another municipality company) to Gazi-Ulaş, and forced them to join Öz Taşıma-İş. The federation understands from our affiliate Tümtis that this action was taken in an attempt to cause Tümtis to lose its majority representation as part of a plan to grant Öz Taşıma-İş the majority and consequently, the authority to sign a collective bargaining agreement at the workplace.

“Tümtis has been organising at Gazi-Ulaş since 2002 and has a collective bargaining agreement with the company. This agreement includes an article specifying that workers cannot be dismissed without the decision of the disciplinary committee.”

Mr Cotton reminded the prime minister that the right to organise workers free from interference is a fundamental International Labour Organisation right and is also guaranteed in Turkey’s Constitutional Law Article 51.

He also highlighted the ITF family’s strong support for Tümtis. “A number of unions, including in Belgium, Germany, Japan, Mauritius, Philippines, Romania, South Korea, Thailand, UK and US have already reacted by sending letters to your offices to express their strong concern about this situation.”

Read about the ITF’s two other recent interventions in Turkey: backing the call to stop using the coup as an excuse for union-busting and backing sacked warehouse workers.

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