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Justice for Crown workers in Canada and Turkey

3 October, 2013An international campaign for basic rights for the workers at the operations of Crown Holdings Inc. in Canada and Turkey gathers steam.

IndustriALL Global Union, its North American affiliate (United Steelworkers) USW and Turkish affiliate Birleşik Metal-İş are campaigning to stop Crown Holding's attacks against workers with the support of Unite the Union of the UK, the International Association of Machinists (IAMAW) of North America, Crown’s European Works Council and IndustriALL’s sister global union IUF.

Crown Holdings, is one of the biggest metal container companies in the world producing cans for beverage and food products in 149 countries.

Despite almost doubling profits in 2012 the company prefers to race for bigger profits at any cost including at the expense of its own workers who build its wealth.

During recent negotiations of the new collective agreement between Crown and USW Local 9176 in Toronto, Ontario, the company arrogantly demanded to impose a two-tier wage schedule, remove a cost-of-living allowance, provide only minimal wage increases, and keep an already nine-year freeze on pensions. The plant in Weston, Toronto produces daily five million cans and earlier was rewarded as one the best production sites in North America.

Disappointed with the treatment despite their achievements and hard work the 130 USW members of the Weston site were not left any choice, but to start a strike in response to the company unjust protracted campaign aimed to lower wages and undermine working conditions.

Similarly, Crown Holdings is also conducting a clear union-busting campaign against workers, who are members of IndustriALL affiliate, Birlesik Metal-Is, at its operations in Turkey since early 2012. After many difficulties in the recruitment period, Birleşik Metal-İş, in November 2012, managed to obtain a collective bargaining certificate from the Ministry of Labour confirming that it is eligible to be a party for negotiations. However, as widely used tactics by employers in Turkey in order to destroy union organizing, Crown immediately challenged the certification at local labour court for stalling the process.

In the meantime, IndustriALL’s sister organization IUF challenged major customers of Crown in the brewery sector since there have been clear violations of fundamental rights in the company’s operations in Turkey.

As part of the international campaign, three demonstrations will be organized to protest the on-going conflicts at the Crown plants: the first one will be held on 16 October in Philadelphia, U.S. where the company is headquartered; the second, on 18 October is in Baar, Switzerland, where the company’s European headquarters is located; and the third will be in Turkey on 21 October.

In the meantime, a USW and LabourStart have launched a joint campaign page. To send online message of protest to the Crown Holdings CEO John Conway in support of the workers in Canada and Turkey, click on the link below: http://www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1978.

“Injustice for the Crown workers must come to an end,” said IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan. “Enough is enough. Our campaign will continue until the current problems in Canada and Turkey are resolved.”