Following almost 300 days of courageous struggle in defence of their rights and dignity, workers at Yves Rocher’s Turkish subsidiary Flormar have reached a deal with the company.
The Gebze branch of IndustriALL-affiliated chemical and rubber union Petrol-Is, together with union national leadership, reached a deal with the company on 7 March 2019.
The company agreed to pay out severance payments, notice payments and special compensation equal to 16-months’ salary to each of the 132 dismissed workers, without waiting for the results of the pending union court cases.
Also, according to the deal, the company has agreed that if the court rules that Petrol-Is has sufficient majority as a bargaining partner, they will recognize the union as the collective bargaining agent. The deal was approved by a majority vote of workers.
The union held a press conference in Gebze on 8 March to announce the agreement. Flormar workers, union leaders and activists, political parties, associations and union-friendly organizations attended the meeting. IndustriALL Global Union representatives were also present.
Armelle Seby, IndustriALL gender equality officer, congratulated Petrol-Is and its members for a fearless and exemplary struggle for workers’ rights, “Your struggle was indeed inspirational not only for workers in Turkey, but also for workers all around the world. Your fight has been written in golden letters in the history of trade union movement.”
The Petrol-Is executive committee sent an official announcement of the victory and the end of the strike and thanked the IndustriALL family for the support and solidarity during the struggle:
“With this proposal approved by the parties, all the fired workers reached their legal rights on one hand and on the other hand the parties (trade union and the company management) will wait for the court decision for concluding a collective bargaining agreement. And during this process, Petrol-Is will continue its organizing campaign at the workplace,” reads Petrol-Is’ letter.
In March 2018, following an intensive recruitment campaign by Petrol-Is, a sufficient number of workers at Yves Rocher’s subsidiary in Turkey exercised their right to join a union. Once proof of the majority was obtained, Petrol-Is approached the company with an offer to discuss collective bargaining. Instead the company rejected the offer and challenged the union certificate issued by the Ministry of Labour in court. Despite pressure and intimidation, the workers refused to give up their union membership.
Yves Rocher/Flormar workers received strong support both inside and outside Turkey. IndustriALL organized international solidarity actions in Geneva, Switzerland and Paris, France, where the headquarters of Yves Rocher is located. Another solidarity action was organized by IndustriALL affiliate FCE-CFDT and social movement ActionAid in Rennes. These actions were coupled with intensive media campaigns.
Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary said,
“We congratulate Flormar workers for this victory, we salute your determination and strong commitment during these 297 days of heroic resistance of the sisters and brothers at Flormar. Your fight is our fight. We also express our gratitude to our partners, namely our affiliate Fédération Chimie Energie (FCE-CFDT) and social movements SumOfUs and ActionAid. Thanks to their efforts this case became well known beyond Turkey and thousands were mobilized in support of Flormar workers.”
Flormar cosmetics brand exports its products to more than 60 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. Since 2012, worldwide cosmetics and beauty brand Yves Rocher has owned a 51 per cent share of Flormar.