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IndustriALL slams ban on Turkish glass workers’ strike

27 June, 2014In a blatant act of oppression, the Turkish government has banned a strike by 6,000 glass workers under the pretext that it breaches health and safety and national security.

The strike, launched on 20 June by IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Kristal-İş, mobilized 5,800 unionists at ten factories belonging to Turkey’s largest glass producer, Sisecam.

Under Turkish law, the government can issue a decree to postpone, and effectively ban, a strike for 60 days if it is prejudicial to public health or national security.

In a strongly-worded letter to the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdoğan, IndustriALL’s general secretary Jyrki Raina stated:

“We vehemently protest your decree, as it is completely unacceptable to IndustriALL Global Union and its affiliates worldwide. It constitutes a clear attack on the right to strike, which is one of the fundamental workers’ rights, guaranteed by the conventions - which have been ratified by the Turkish government - and the jurisprudence of the International Labour Organization.”

Multinational corporation, Sisecam, is one of Europe’s largest companies employing 18,000 people in eight different countries. Glass workers at the firm are striking for better wages and working conditions.

In the recent past, Turkey has come under attack for unlawfully banning strikes in the glass and rubber industry. The Turkish State Council said that strikes in these sectors could never breach “general health and national security”.

The International Labour Organization also criticized the government for obstructing Freedom of Association by prohibiting strikes in the sector on the grounds of national security, despite no apparent threat.

“We call on the Turkish government to protect the rights of workers in line with international norms and standards instead of securing business interests. Furthermore, we strongly believe that your government must respond in the face of the industrial homicide in Soma, which killed 301 miners and left 432 children without fathers,” wrote Raina.