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IndustriALL campaign contributes to Mulberry supplier agreement but struggle continues

22 October, 2015SF Leather, the Turkish supplier of high-end handbag brand Mulberry has agreed to drop its court cases against a number of workers who joined the Deriteks trade union. IndustriALL Global Union campaigned for a Mulberry intervention to stop union busting at its supplier.

Considerable severance payments were given to dismissed workers who SF Leather refused to reinstate.

The IndustriALL affiliated Deriteks is determined to support the SF Leather workers in organizing a union and gaining a voice at the workplace.

A 14 October Memorandum of Understanding between the union and employer brought an end to all court cases filed by both parties, agreed compensation to dismissed workers, and also affirmed SF Leather’s commitment to respecting the ILO Conventions on union organizing.

During break time at the factory on 14 October, Deriteks representatives were introduced by management to inform the full workforce that they have the right to join the union without reprisals.

However, while the commitment was made in the Memorandum of Understanding with Deriteks, management did not make it clear with workers that it supports their right to join a union. The commitment will be put to the test over coming months as workers continue to unionize.

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan stated:

Deriteks has been recognized by SF Leather as its social partner, able to solve problems at the workplace. SF Leather workers should now be able to join Deriteks without fear of being sacked. We continue to expect Mulberry to ensure all labour rights are respected at SF Leather, and our focus remains on this factory until it is unionized.

Deriteks General President Musa Servi stated:

“Since the beginning of the process, we have always sought dialogue and a peaceful solution. We have a duty to defend and promote the rights of our members. The union’s objective is to ensure protection of the value and dignity of work, and health and safety conditions in a regulated and stable working environment. I call on all our fellow workers at SF Leather to join us in concluding a collective agreement.”

Sign the IndustriALL-LabourStart campaign here and write to the UK-based Mulberry. Well over 11,000 supporters have already done so.

Turkish labour law requires over 50 per cent of the workforce to join a single union before it can be officially registered. There are approximately 190 employees of SF Leather.