27 September, 2012Hugo Boss turns a blind eye to violent oppression of dismissed Texim workers producing their clothes in Turkey. The 38 Texim employees sacked since 7 August for trade union organizing had their peaceful picket attacked by 12 buses of riot police on 24 September.
On the morning of 24 September, 12 bus loads of riot police were waiting for workers arriving to continue the protest. The heavily armoured police forced workers away from the factory and kept them surrounded a block away. There the workers were supported and joined by two parliamentarians and by other workers, but police used aggression to stop the group approaching the factory, hospitalizing one worker and beating others. See the video here and here.
The 35 sacked workers are members of TEKSIF, Textile, Knitting and Garment Industry Workers’ Union, an affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union. TEKSIF struggled against the well-known obstacles to trade union rights in Turkey, as well as employer intransigence, to organize workers at Texim.
Unionization at the plant was led by workers in the knitting department who were then targeted by management by punishing changes to working conditions, unilaterally ordering a 50 per cent increase in the department’s production. When workers rejected the impossible demand they were threatened and then sacked on the morning of 7 August.
Since the mass dismissal, the 38 trade unionists have conducted a peaceful picket in front of the plant, each morning for more than 50 days arriving to pitch a tent and protest their treatment with the support of fellow trade unionists from inside the plant. TEKSIF membership continues to grow steadily at the plant, causing management to increase pressure and sack a further two active trade unionists.
IndustriALL has taken up this case through various channels and will continue to do so. General Secretary Raina condemned the sackings in writing to Texim owner Haldum Boz.
Texim employs around 700 garment workers in the Merter district of Istanbul, and produces mainly for Hugo Boss’ German market, and also for other major brands such as Pierre Cardin.