IndustriALL Global Union demands effective action from well-known multinationals ABB, Alstöm, Schneider and Siemens over dismissals of 65 union members by their Turkish supplier Enpay in Turkey.
The Turkish company manufactures electric power transformers and transformer components used in circuitry with exports to over 50 countries. Having factories in both Slovakia and in India, Enpay employs around 900 workers at its factory located in Kullar, Izmit, one of the industrial zones in Turkey.
Over the last month, local management has reacted aggressively to its employees after they started to join IndustriALL’s affiliate Birlesik Metal-Is, United Metalworkers’ Union.
IndustriALL Global Union, with its namesake sister organization in Europe, twice urged Enpay management to stop anti-union aggression and reinstate dismissed workers. However, despite a reply from the company on 1 July stating that Enpay is acting in compliance with national law and international labour norms, the sackings have continued.
We note your letter to us on 1 July. We very much wish that your stated compliance with national and international labour norms were true. However sacking all of the worker representatives elected by Birlesik Metal-İs along with other union supporters clearly amounts to punitive action and your management’s “intervention in the unionization of workers” to quote your letter.
Reacting to a large proportion of the workforce joining Birlesik and electing their own worker representatives, Enpay dismissed 11 union members on 13 July, a further 12 on 20 July for joining demonstrations calling for reinstatement, and now a total of 65. All of the elected worker representatives were sacked.
The number of dismissals has ridden steadily as for each employer violation, workers reacted with actions that were then vindictively punished by management. And the escalating cycle is continuing.
Worker action in demonstration against management violations has included work stoppages, pickets, and sit-in demonstrations.
The company applied to the public prosecutor claiming that the work stoppage was illegal, but the claim was rejected and opening a court case was refused.
On Sunday, 26 July, police arrested workers and the local president of Birlesik Metal-Is in Kocaeli for simply assembling peacefully in front of the factory. They were released in the evening of the same day.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan stated:
“IndustriALL Global Union expects from Enpay’s customer multinationals to use their influence to halt the nonsense engaged by Enpay. Unfortunately there are currently a number of similar cases in Turkey. Employers and their corporate clients must know that a policy of outright aggression will never drive democratic unions out of Turkish workplaces. Taking corrective measures through due-diligence is their responsibility.”