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Deva Holdings must stop attacking its workers in Turkey

6 November, 2014IndustriALL Global Union is campaigning against the third largest pharmaceutical company in Turkey, Deva Holdings. The multinational company is guilty of union busting the IndustriALL affiliate Petrol-Is.

The latest violation committed by the company in its effort to stop its workers organizing is to ignore a direct and official edict from Turkey’s Labour Ministry. The government authority instructed the company on 14 October to recognize Petrol-Is and begin collective bargaining. Instead the company sacked three more workers for supporting the union.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina wrote on 6 November to the Chairman and CEO of the Turkish Deva operations, Philipp Haas:

Let me tell you Mr Haas that our global organization comes across irresponsible employers around the world every day, but this corporate misbehavior by Deva Holdings represents total disrespect and disregard of your employees. This case puts Deva Holdings in breach of industry standards, OECD and ILO standards, of the Turkish labour legislation, and into the category of worst violators of labour rights.

Already in 2010 Deva used a range of union busting tactics to dismantle a 40-year industrial relations system at plants in Çerkezköy, Kartepe and the Topkapı area of Istanbul. Deva Holdings sacked 74 employees at that stage in 2010 when they refused to replace their collective agreement with individual contracts.

Deva then sacked 8 more workers on 22 July, 2014 for exercizing their right to join Petrol-Is. A total of 24 sackings had occurred in this latest union organizing process.

The Deva corporate management has been sent thousands of protest messages already through LabourStart as part of the global campaign supporting the Petrol-Is organizing drive.

Despite the mass sackings and other illegal anti union pressure, Deva employees organized the required majority to then file for and receive the official ‘Certificate of Competence’ from the Turkish Ministry of Labour on 14 October, 2014. This official directive from the Turkish government instructs Deva Holdings to begin collective bargaining with Petrol-Is as its recognized bargaining partner.

But, instead of respecting the authority and findings of the Ministry of Labour, Deva management declared to its workers that the company will never recognize or bargain with any union in Turkey. And Deva’s now-established practice of sacking employees deemed to be key union supporters was used again. Details are below of these three latest workers to be sacked for supporting a union.

1)      Ramazan Atasever: With one-and-a-half-year seniority. He was told that the reason of his dismissal was his physiological problems.

2)     Şenol Aygün: With eleven years seniority. The apparent reason for his dismissal is that he does not possess a sufficient level of academic qualifications for the technological processes required in his job. However, with eleven years service in his position, it is a non-credible excuse for sacking someone for supporting a union.

3)     Hasan Yiğit: With seven years seniority. He was told that he was dismissed because of his earlier records inside the company. This once again sent a message to the workforce that they will be sacked for no valid reason if they support the union.

Deva is also ignoring the voice of public opinion, particularly of the Association of Doctors and Association of Pharmacists who have already publicly announced that Deva workers should be able to exercise their fundamental rights without any pressure and intimidation.

Raina added in the letter to Deva:

I need to reiterate that this level of continued and blatant illegal union busting will label your company and its products as unethical in the extreme. We will be making this known widely until you recognize Petrol-Is as the union that your employees have chosen to organize into.

Collective bargaining must now begin as instructed by the Labour Ministry, and the 27 employees that your company has sacked for supporting Petrol-Is must be reinstated.