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Crown continues union busting in Turkey and Canada

22 September, 2014Crown Holdings wants to replace three-quarters of its workers that are members of IndustriALL affiliate United Steelworkers (USW) even if they settle a year-long labour dispute.

USW has responded by filing a complaint with the Labour Relations Board in Ontario, Canada.

One of the world's largest manufacturers of food and beverage cans, Crown provoked the strike at its Toronto factory on Sept. 6, 2013, by demanding massive concessions despite doubling its profits and giving the plant its top award in North America for productivity, safety and efficiency.

"We believe Crown is out to bust the union and is not interested in negotiating an end to this dispute," said USW International Vice-President Fred Redmond who has been handling the negotiations.

In March, workers rejected the company's demands by a vote of 117 to 1 after Crown offered few assurances that workers could return to their jobs. In its most recent proposal, Crown said it wants to cut the wages of most workers by as much as one-third.

In Turkey, Crown lost its challenges of the certification of IndustriALL affiliate Birlesik Is and was forced to recognize the union. However the company is refusing to bargain in good faith and a work stoppage appears likely. Crown has already dismissed numerous workers because of their union involvement.

IndustriALL continues to support USW and Birlesik Metal Is in disputes with Crown. IndustriALL held a meeting in Geneva in February of unions at Crown in Europe and North America to develop a program of fighting back against Crown attacks.

IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan participated in actions at the Crown annual general meeting in Philadelphia, USA in April. IndustriALL also organized in April a delegation of two striking workers from Canada to Turkey, Switzerland, Italy and France.

IndustriALL has also sent, jointly with fellow GUF the IUF, a letter to Crown’s customers demanding they ensure Crown respects workers’ rights.

IUF is pressing this demand in meetings with a number of Crown customers in the food and beverage sectors where IUF affiliates have members.

"We will continue to support our affiliates in Canada, Turkey and wherever else they come under attack by this vicious, anti-union company, Crown Holdings,” said Özkan.