Turquía - Workers forced to change their union membership (2011)

At Kardemir Co. in Karabuk, 65 workers who were affiliated to the TURK-Is-affiliated metal workers’ union Türk Metal Sendikasi were forced to take leave, of whom 11 unpaid, and resign from their union. Subsequently, in three days’ time, 2100 workers changed their union membership to the employer-friendly Turkish Metal, Steel Ammunition, Machinery, Metal Products and Auto Assembly Allied Workers Union (Çelik-İş) after they had been promised better wages and more decent working and living conditions. While addressing the workers, a Çelik-İş director even stated that workers who had been sent on leave would only be permitted to return to their jobs if they resigned from Türk Metal and changed their membership to Çelik-İş. After they refused to do so, 29 of them were dismissed. The employer announced that it would not talk to Türk Metal, even if it was officially granted collective bargaining status. Since then, workers and their family members have been harassed and threatened, including by private security agents hired by the employer. There have even been a number of suicide attempts among the workers. The employer has also attempted to collect signatures for resignation from Türk Metal under the supervision of notary public officials. Türk Metal has taken the issue to court.

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