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Turkey: Workers fired from Posco Assan steel plant for joining union

17 November, 2017Forty members of Birleşik Metal-İş have been dismissed from the Posco Assan steel plant in Kocaeli, Turkey, for joining the union.

The workers were dismissed after an organizing drive by IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Birleşik Metal-İş. The union had been attempting to organize the 420 workers at the Kocaeli site after they expressed deep dissatisfaction with wages and working conditions.

When management heard about the organizing effort, they organized individual meetings with workers to intimidate them into leaving the union. Those who refused to resign from the union were fired.

The workforce stopped production to protest the dismissals, and Birleşik Metal-İş organized a mass protest yesterday.

Birleşik Metal-İş has fulfilled the legal requirements for union recognition. The union obtained a legal majority and applied for a certificate from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for the right to bargaining collectively on behalf of the members.

Posco Assan Steel Industry Incorporated is a partnership between Posco in Korea, Kibar Holding in Turkey, and Daewoo International. The plant produces high grade stainless steel, used in industrial storage, boilers, kitchen equipment and auto parts.

Posco is the world’s fifth largest steel company. There is no union representation in the home country of Korea because of the company’s anti-union stance.

IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches wrote to the CEO of the Turkish enterprise, Haeil Jeong, saying:

“Posco Assan TST Steel Industry Inc’s behaviour constitutes a blatant violation of Turkish labour law as well as fundamental international labour standards.

“It is incumbent upon Posco Assan TST Steel Industry to abide strictly by national and international labour law. Therefore, IndustriALL Global Union strongly urges Posco Assan TST Steel Industry Inc. to reinstate immediately the forty workers, recognize Birleşik Metal-İş as the legitimate bargaining party, as it has obtained the legal majority, and stop interfering with fundamental workers’ rights, including the right to join a union of their choice and bargain collectively.”