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Roche called on to end supplier violations in Turkey at AGM

  • Roche AGM in Basel

5 March, 2015Still campaigning for justice and respect for workers at Roche’s partner Deva in Turkey, IndustriALL Global Union, Petrol-Is, and Unia mobilized at the Roche AGM on 3 March. 

The unions called on Roche to live up to its supply-chain and ethical commitments and insist that its corporate partner Deva recognizes and bargains with Petrol-Is. Workers at Deva’s large factories in Çerkezköy, Kartepe and the Topkapı area of Istanbul have been under vicious attack from management since 2010. 

Read the full extent of Deva’s violations, and the inaction from pharmaceuticals giant Roche, here.

By aggressively flouting national and international labour laws to keep Deva workplaces non-union at all cost, Philipp Haas and his company management have earned a notorious reputation in Turkey. The union delegation at the Roche AGM in Basel, Switzerland, included Emel Şabanoğlu who was sacked by Deva for joining Petrol-Is, along with 31 others.

Emel wanted to tell Roche shareholders how her unfair dismissal has affected her family. Without her salary Emel could not continue to pay for her son’s education. She suspects that Deva has blacklisted her at other local employers and finding a new job is difficult.

I worked for ten years at Deva and I was sacked for taking part in union activities. We are here in Switzerland to explain what is really going on at Deva. We know that Roche is an important company for Deva because we were producing Roche drugs there. We know that if Roche puts pressure on Deva our union will be recognized.

After addressing the Roche shareholders’ meeting about the Deva case, IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan stated:

The Deva workers are treated without dignity, without respect, without enjoyment of their fundamental rights. We said the whole implementation, monitoring and compliance system of Roche, as far as the suppliers are concerned, is really under question. We clearly demanded from the company management, CEO and Chair, to take more concrete actions to help and restore the situation at Deva in Turkey.

Unia’s Elango Kanakasundaram from the action said:

“Unia stands in solidarity with these workers in Turkey. And we are against repression of trade unions in Switzerland and everywhere else.”

At the same time as the trade union action at the Roche AGM, Petrol-Is members picketed Roche’s headquarters in Turkey. The workers’ statement condemned Roche’s inaction while harassment and intimidation continues daily at the Deva workplaces.