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Struggle continues for ISMACO and DESA workers in Turkey

28 February, 2013On 23 February, the Leather Workers’ Union of Turkey, an affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union, gathered in protest of the continuing union busting at the leather factory, DESA and the textile factory, ISMACO.

On the famous street of Istanbul’s Vali Konağı Caddesi, 150 workers gathered in front of the stores for which DESA produces leather goods, and of the well-known brand Ermenegildo Zegna, supplied by ISMACO. Both companies refuse to recognize Deri-Is, the leather workers’ union, and continue to violate workers’ fundamental rights.

DESA produces for brands such as Prada, Mıu Mıu, Car Shoe, Marks and Spencer, Mulberry, Burberry, Whistles, Modalu, Carven and Nicole Farhi. Deri-Is has been campaigning to recruit workers at DESA since 2008.  The company’s refusal to respect workers’ rights has included systematic discrimination, intimidation and dismissals. Even after it was proved in court that DESA management dismissed 34 workers for joining a union, company management preferred to pay the workers off instead of reinstating them.

In a meeting in January, IndustriALL Global Union and Deri-Is lodged a series of demands to DESA, requesting recognition of trade union representatives in the factories, and insisted that the company enter into dialogue with trade union members, but company management refused. You can take action in support of DESA workers here.

The group also protested at the Ermenegildo Zegna store, a luxury brand for which ISMACO produces. At ISMACO four workers were dismissed for being members of Deri-Is and have been picketing since last December. The local company management has not abstained from openly announcing that they do not want the union in their workplaces. You can take action in support of ISMACO workers here.

A production worker at ISMACO earns on average € 380 per month while a shirt from Ermenegildo Zegna is sold for around € 500 at the store in front of which the protest was organized in Istanbul.

“IndustriALL Global Union extends its full support to Deri-Is for both of these campaigns, among others,” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary. “This kind of action will continue in the coming days until both companies change their unacceptable attitudes.”