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Georg Fischer consistently spurns union rights in Turkey

3 April, 2014IndustriALL Global Union repeatedly calls on Swiss-based multinational company Georg Fischer to put an end to violations of union rights in Turkey and demands immediate reinstatement of 37 dismissed workers.

Lastik-Is, the Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Industry Workers’ Union of Turkey, member of DISK national center and of IndustriALL, launched an organizing campaign at the operations of the company called Georg Fischer Hakan Plastik in Turkey a few months ago.

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Founded in 1802 in Switzerland, the multinational corporation operates in 32 countries, with 124 companies, 48 of them production facilities in the business segments of piping systems, automotive and machining solutions.

Georg Fischer’s reaction against union organizing was harsh, and so far 37 members of Lastik-Is have been dismissed by the local management. The simple reason is that workers exercised their legitimate fundamental rights of freedom of association guaranteed by international labour conventions of the ILO as well as Turkey’s Constitution and national trade union legislation.

Along with this, instead of settling peaceful labor relations at the plants, Georg Fischer management continues to use intimidation and pressure over the union members to rescind their affiliation with Lastik-Is. This particularly happens in one-to-one meetings conducted by the middle level-managers with all union members.

In the meantime, the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security has sent an official certification to all the relevant parties confirming that Lastik-Is has a sufficient majority of the workforce to be a bargaining party. However Georg Fischer maintains its anti-union behavior refusing any meeting at national and international level.

Even though IndustriALL Global Union and its Swiss affiliate UNIA have several times initiated dialogue with central and local management of the company, the response is always negative.

Georg Fischer violates relevant provisions of Turkish Collective Labor Relations and Penal Codes with its acts in Turkey. The company also breaches OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises that explicitly recognize the right of all employees to be or become members of a trade union and to participate in collective negotiations.

“What Georg Fischer does in Turkey is completely unacceptable,” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union. “If the situation in Turkey remains unresolved as is, we, together with our Swiss affiliate UNIA and all other member organizations, will carry out our campaign to escalate our support for Lastik-Is and union members at Hakan Plastik.”