On the one hand, wage increases that do not even reach the hunger limit, and on the other hand, workers whose organizing and union rights are denied are on the streets to fight for their rights.
Although the number of employees in Turkey is 16 million 395 thousand, the number of unionized workers is 2 million 495 thousand. Since the rate of organization is low, the share of national income for capital increased to 47 percent, while the share of labor decreased to 32.2 percent.
While reactions to wage increases below inflation are increasing, protests are rising in almost every sector, from teachers to factory workers. We have compiled the struggles of workers in various cities of Turkey:
- Agrobay Greenhouse workers who turned to union organization in Izmir Bergama were dismissed. The struggle of workers resisting layoffs and usurpation of rights continues on its 175th day.
- Özak Tekstil workers in Şanlıurfa carried the resistance they started against union pressure and dismissals to Istanbul. Workers have been struggling for 47 days.
- Limter-İş Union is in action in front of Istanbul Tuzla and Yalova’s Altınova shipyards.
- Workers working in the construction of the “Yuvam Bahçeşehir” project, built with the partnership of Akar Group, Reis Elektrik and Başakkent AŞ, a subsidiary of Başakşehir Municipality, have been protesting for six days on the grounds that their rights have not been paid.
- Five workers who were members of the Öz Gıda Labor Union, who were organizing activities at Beyda Gıda, operating in Beylikdüzü, Istanbul, were dismissed. The workers’ protest has completed its first week.
- Doğa College teachers, members of the Private Sector Teachers’ Union, continue their struggle to demand equal pay with teachers working in the public sector. Teachers working at Ankara Bilnet Schools are struggling against union pressure.
METAL DOES NOT STAND
United Metal Workers Union went on strike on January 31 in the factories of Erciyas Steel Pipe Industry in Düzce and Mersin. In addition, the strike initiated by the workers following the CBA dispute between Şahinkul Makine, operating in Bursa, and the United Metal-İş Union is on its 22nd day.
- Harb-İş members, who set out from Eskişehir and Istanbul to Ankara to demand an additional raise and wanted to hold a mass rally, were blocked at the entrance of Ankara the previous day.
- Female workers who were fired from their jobs at the Burda Bebek factory in Sakarya Hendek for organizing a union have been struggling for 85 days.
‘NO STOP UNTIL YOU WIN’
There is determination in the unions organizing the protests. Speaking on behalf of the Agrobay workers in action, Tarım Sen Chairman Umut Kocagöz recalls the resistance in various parts of Turkey and says: “Our demands are very simple. Our members were dismissed due to union reasons. They want their compensation and unpaid rights. In Turkey, usurping workers’ rights has become a general attitude of employers. “We will continue our struggle until the end.”
Speaking about the strikes of metal workers, United Metal-İş Union General Secretary Ali Çeltek says: “The company management in Şahinkum does not accept to sit at the table with us. Workers are being pressured to resign from the union. We will continue our fight against this. In Erciyas, the employer made an offer of 80 percent, but we are demanding a raise of 130 percent. “The strike continues.”