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Day of action for UPS workers in Turkey

ITF’s (International Transport Workers’ Federation) Turkish affiliate TUMTIS’ (the union of road transport workers) ongoing dispute with UPS, was the centre of a global day of action, attracting solidarity and support from throughout the world, on 1 September. Those participating in the day of action called upon UPS in unison to “Deliver Justice not Abuse”.

Local management of UPS, the global messenger company based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, has reacted disgracefully to an organising drive of its workers by TUMTIS. While management have used physical intimidation on workers not to join the union, 157 employees of UPS and its contractors in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir have been sacked since April 2010 when the drive began, because of their support for TUMTIS.

Out of the 157 total, 126 were sacked at 3 UPS facilities in Istanbul, and 27 in Izmir. In Izmir one manager fired gunshots near the TUMTIS picket line, while other protesting workers were attacked by riot police. This is in direct breach of Turkish labour legislation, and certainly not in line with the company’s pledges on corporate social responsibility, in which UPS promises to never obstruct its employees from joining a union.

The day was organised following a unanimously adopted emergency resolution at the ITF Congress in Mexico City 5-12 August, reported InBrief No. 163 here.

The global day of action saw trade unionists protesting in front of national UPS offices in Australia, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia, among others. See more about the day of action here.

TUMTIS’ national labour centre, TURK-IS has supported the union’s daily picket since the start of the conflict.

The ITF urges supporters around the world to contact their local UPS management and transfer this model letter condemning the union busting in Turkey. Locate your nearest UPS office here. 

Workers at the 80% UPS-owned subsidiary ‘Unsped Global Logistic Ticaret AS’ receive a monthly wage of 382 euros, while contract and agency (CAL) workers earn far less. The vast majority of UPS’ 5,000 employees in Turkey are CAL workers, often working over 70 hours per week.

The ICEM supports demands of the ITF that all 150 sacked UPS employees are reinstated unconditionally, and that anti-union harassment is stopped immediately and fully at UPS and its subcontractors in Turkey.

There will be a second global day of action on 15 September if the workers are not reinstated.

Support the LabourStart campaign here. (6 September 2010)