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Turkish Petrol-Iş Again Blocks Tupras’s Oil Privatisation

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6 February, 2006


Turkish ICEM affiliate Petrol-Iş again successfully dampened Turkey’s privatisation attempts of state-run oil refiner Tupras by winning a Council of State judicial decision on 2 February.

The decision by the Council, Turkey’s highest administrative court, suspends the sale of 51% of Tupras to a consortium led by Turkey’s Koc Holdings and Royal Dutch Shell. Only a week earlier, the consortium transferred US$4.14 billion to the Privatisation Administration Council for the 51% stake. But the court, acting on an appeal by Petrol-Iş, struck down the sale, saying it had failed to comply with privatisation law.

The union has been conducting day-long strikes at the four refineries and at one petrochemical plant of Tupras, as well as holding massive strikes at workplaces on 26 January, the day Koc and the government rushed through the finalisation of the deal. Petrol-Iş has been conducting—and continues to—a campaign called “Tupras is Our Future, It Cannot Be Sold Off” in the form of billboards, print and television announcements, and other medium directed at Turkey’s citizens.

Last week’s court decision, according to Platt’s Commodity News, provoked panic shares’ selling of both Tupras and of Koc’s liquid petroleum gas subsidiary, Aygaz, on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. Petrol-Iş has now won some five court and regulatory agency rulings against gas and oil refinery privatisations using both legal means and public campaigns.