Metal workers in Turkey went on strike on Thursday, 29th January 2015 demanding better wages and working conditions once negotiations between employer and the union failed. The Turkish government argued that the metal workers’ strike “is capable of disrupting national security and decided on Friday, 30th January to postpone the strike for 60 days under Article 63 of Law No. 6356 on trade unions and collective bargaining agreements. The strikes involving 15 thousand workers following the decision taken by Turkey’s Metal Workers’ union were due to begin on 29 January and 19 February at 22 workplaces across the country and have critical significance for the protection of democracy, workers’ rights, and the labour movement as a whole in Turkey.
On Friday the Turkish Cabinet declared a ban on these strikes. This is unacceptable. The AKP government has a track record of such behaviour, and in the past has arbitrarily banned the strikes of Hava Is (airline workers union), Tek Gida Is (Turkish Food & Allied Workers Union) and Kristal Is (Glass Workers Union) on the grounds of national security. It is evident that these strikes are not harming national security; in fact the smallest demand for rights by workers in Turkey simply causes discomfort for the ruling government. This current ban is evidence of how AKP openly prioritises the interests of MESS (Turkish Metal Producers Union) bosses over those of the workers. Previously “Turk Metal”, a workers union heavily favouring employers, agreed to an extension of the employment contracts to three years (whilst salaries steadily declined), as a result workers had no choice but to strike against such conditions. The prohibition of the “Birlesik Metal Is” (metal workers) strikes exposes once again the partnership between the government and corporate interests against those of the workers and the labour movement in Turkey.
AKP is terrorising every segment of its population; not least those seeking to enforce their rights through protest and those expressing their opinions in writing or otherwise. Workers’ strikes and the labour movement itself has also joined these ranks and have become a target of the AKP government. AKP’s approach is reflective of its collaboration with MESS bosses and shows an outright hostility towards workers and the public. This ban exposes the extremity of anti-democratic and despotic policies by the Turkish Government towards the public, and is wholly unacceptable. The removal of the right to strike on the request of the bosses and through the arbitrary decision making of the Cabinet is a breach of the workers’ constitutional rights, and must be challenged. The metal workers’ strike is part of the global labour movement. For this reason we invite all trade unionists and progressive groups to publicly express their reaction to this attack on the right to strike in Turkey. The metal workers right to strike must be defended. This metal workers strike is seen as ‘Turkey’s Strike’ after years of attacks on workers and trade unions rights by the AKP government. International solidarity has an enormous significance in making this strike stronger and helping with the motivation of workers whom have take strike action for the first time in their life.
The struggle of the metal worker is our struggle too.
Day-Mer Community Centre – London
Ps: For an up to date information on this matter or to invite a guest speaker to speak at one of your events please e-mail me on this address or call 07961 708 014.