Turquía - Union busting in the leather industry

Employees at SF Trade Leather have been fighting for their right to establish a union, with the help of industry union Deriteks, since 2015. The company has vehemently deterred all attempts to do so by harassing and bullying workers and by sacking 14 workers and offering their jobs back on the condition that they cancel their union membership. In the summer of 2019, SF-unionised workers created a workplace committee. Four union members were immediately suspended for allegedly “not performing well” and were accused of bringing the factory “into disrepute and endangering other workers’ jobs”. The four women workers went on a symbolic strike for over 100 days with the support of Deriteks, and they continue to fight for their jobs and their right to trade union membership. To this day, they are still calling for their reinstatement.

Furthermore, Safe Demo Plastik, the Turkish subsidiary of French auto supplier Safe Group, were accused of engaging in extensive union-busting tactics against members of Petrol-İş, the oil, chemical and rubbber workers’ union in Bursa. The union has been certified by the Labour Ministry; however, the company management challenged the Ministry’s certification in court, claiming that Petrol-İş did not have a sufficient majority to be a collective bargaining agent. Company management has furthermore fired six workers because of their union activities and has made attempts to encourage other employees to resign their union membership. In October 2019, union members staged a demonstration demanding recognition of their rights. Their demands include Safe Demo Plastik’s withdrawal of the court case and starting collective bargaining negotiations, reinstatement of the fired union members and an end to coercion of workers to quit the union.

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