27 June, 2013Turkish auto parts manufacturer Arobus Argen, and wheel manufacturer Tekersan are breaking national and international labour law by strongly cracking down on workers organizing into the IndustriALL-affiliated Birleşik Metal-İş, including by sacking employees in three factories.
The two Arobus plants in Tuzla and Bursa, and the Tekersan plant in Bilecik have been target locations of the Birleşik union for organizing drives. Once it became clear to the two sets of company management that Birleşik would represent the legally required 50% plus 1 majority of workers the intimidation and dismissals began.
IndustriALL Global Union will exercise its leverage in both companies as both Arobus and Tekersan produce for major auto companies, many of which are cosignatories of Global Framework Agreements with IndustriALL, and companies where IndustriALL affiliates organize trade union networks. In the GFAs with IndustriALL those multinational companies such as Mercedes and Renault commit to ensure minimum labour standards in their supply chains.
Arobus have dismissed a total of 19 workers including 6 from the first stage of organizing, 11 more dismissed on 24 June in Tuzla, and a further 2 on 24 June in Bursa. Birleşik reports that workers at the Bursa plant were summoned one by one into the management’s office and offered the choice between dismissal and relinquishing their Birleşik membership in favour of another union. Arobus management even brought a public notary to the plants to move workers to the other union.
In writing to both companies, IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina made reference to Turkish legislation that management has breached in refusing their workers the right to join the trade union of their choosing:
Article 25 of the Collective Labor Relations Act coded 6356 entitled “Guarantee of freedom of trade union” enshrines that “No worker shall be dismissed or discriminated against on account of his/her membership or non-membership in a trade union, his/her participation in the activities of trade unions or workers’ organizations outside his hours of work or during hours of work with the employer’s permission”.
Along with this, the article 118 of the Turkish Penal Code, coded 5237, entitled “Prevention of use of trade union rights” reads: “Any person who uses violence or threat against a person in order to force him to become or not to become a member of a trade union, or to participate or not to participate in the activities of the union, or to cancel his membership from the union or to declare his resignation from the management of the union, is sentenced to imprisonment from six months to two years”.
IndustriALL will continue to monitor and support Birleşik until the problems are resolved in a fair solution.