10 January, 2013IndustriALL’s affiliate Petrol-İş gained legal recognition as the union representing workers at Standard Profil in Turkey at the end of December 2012 and has commenced collective negotiations after a four-year organizing campaign.
The official certificate of recognition, issued by the Turkish Ministry of Labour, reached the union on 20 December 2012 after a local court ruled that Petrol-İş has the required legal majority for conducting collective bargaining negotiations at Standard Profil in Turkey.
The union had organized more than 50 per cent of Standard Profil’s 2,300 Turkish workers from the plant in Düzce and a sister factory in Bursa, and gained formal certification of recognition by March 2011, as required under trade union laws in Turkey.
Nevertheless the company then engaged in legal challenges to the certification in an effort to block workers from their legitimate workplace rights and sacked 37 union activists inside the larger Düzce factory during the organizing period. The judiciary process decided that the majority of union members were dismissed for unjustified reasons and the company must reinstate them.
Some years earlier, Petrol-İş, with the support provided by its national centre and global union, lodged a complaint with the World Bank's International Financial Corporation (IFC). The IFC and the accompanying Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) loaned the company development money, and criteria under that loan requires the company live up to social and environment standards. After assessment, a compliance office for IFC/MIGA determined that managers must undertake awareness and education efforts regarding labour rights and work conditions, which took place in 2008 and 2009.
Petrol-İş celebrated its victory, including gaining an additional 2,000 new members, at a large rally on 24 December 2012 of all members in the city of Düzce, where the company operates its biggest factory. IndustriALL Global Union’s Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan was one of the attendees of the rally.
“Over the last four years, our united strength has played a vital role for this success,” said Mustafa Öztaşkın, President of Petrol-Is in his letter to IndustriALL. “We are aware that the road to victory has been paved with your decisive and determined solidarity and contributions. Many thanks for your solidarity and valuable contributions to our struggle,” Öztaşkın added.
Standard Profil is a Turkish-based multinational supplier of automotive sealing systems producing for major automakers such as Audi, BMW, Citroen, Daimler, Fiat, Ford, GM, Mercedes, Nissan, Opel. The company recently purchased some plants of Spanish Kaufil.