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Dismissed workers at Texim in Turkey struggle for basic rights

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9 August, 2012Thirty-five members of IndustriALL Global Union’s Turkish affiliate TEKSIF struggle for their basic trade union rights at Texim that produces for major brands such as Hugo Boss, Mayline, Escada, Bogner, Falke, Marc Cain, Roy Robson, Pierre Cardin, Park Bravo.

TEKSIF (the Textile, Knitting and Garment Industry Workers’ Union) has been campaigning for union organizing at Turkish-based garment company Texim which employs around 700 workers for some time, and has so far managed to gain important ground with a significant part of the workforce joining the union. Texim management recently unilaterally announced that operators in the knitting department must increase their output by fifty per cent with additional machines supplied for their use. Workers in the knitting department led the unionization at the plant, and have always been at forefront of the struggle as the principal target for the employer.  

The unilaterally imposed increase in output by the company resulted in substantial changes in working conditions. TEKSIF’s thirty-five members working as operators rejected Texim’s announcement. In fact, article 22 of the Turkish Labour Law coded 4857 related to “Change in working conditions and termination of labour contracts“ stipulates that “the parties may change the working conditions anytime upon mutual consent“ in a defined procedure. Company management continued to threaten operators with dismissal if they did not approve their unilateral decision. At the time when these discussions were taking place, IndustriALL Global Union’s General Secretary Jyrki Raina wrote a message, on 27 July, to the owner of Texim, Mr Haldun Boz, and urged him “to stop these threats, and provide a smooth working environment for workers where they can be productive and feel free to exercise their rights guaranteed by national and international standards”.

As of the morning shift on 6 August, Texim dismissed the thirty-five operators in the knitting department, and the dismissed workers started to picket in front of the plant located in Merter, a famous textile district of Istanbul. The picket has wide community and trade union support. Following a long march in central Istanbul, TEKSİF leaders, along with dismissed workers, met with the German General Consul in Istanbul since Texim produces for the German market, overwhelmingly for Hugo Boss. The union delegation raised their problems they faced in the process of recruitment at the direct manufacturing plant of Hugo Boss in Izmir as well as in its major suppliers: Texim in Istanbul and Edirne Giyim in the Thrace region.

In his last message, Jyrki Raina said to Texim that “this is completely unacceptable to us since you terminate contracts of all these workers because of their union membership. I strongly urge you to stop dismissals, re-instate dismissed workers, and enter into meaningful dialogue with TEKSIF as the legitimate representative of the workforce at Texim”.

IndustriALL Global Union continues to escalate the campaign for re-instatement of dismissed workers at Texim, and takes the issue to different platforms for an immediate solution.