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Turkey’s Selüloz-Is struggles for recognition at Form Mukavva

ICEM’s Turkish affiliate Selüloz-Is, Pulp, Paper and Products Workers’ Union has been picketing in front of the plant of Form Mukavva Ambalaj Sanayi ve Ticaret Ltd.Şti located in Torbali, close to the country’s third biggest city Izmir. The Selüloz-Is picket-line is in protest over the dismissals of sixteen union members by the Turkish-based cardboard packaging company Form Mukavva following recent successful organising drives of the union which lasted several months.

Selüloz-Is applied to the Ministry of Labour on 9 May 2011 for the authorisation documentation showing that the union organises more than the legally-required 50% of workers at the workplace. The Ministry sent the authorisation paper, confirming the union’s majority. At the time of the application to the Ministry, Selüloz-Is had much more than the legally required minimum 50% registered union members. But when the management received the paper from the Ministry, they first filed a case at local labour court claiming that the union did not hold the required legal majority to become a bargaining partner, a common tactic by employers in Turkey for union de-recognition, subsequently 16 pioneering members of Selüloz-Is were kicked out on 20 June 2011. Since then Selüloz-Is has conducted industrial action calling for the reinstatement of those dismissed workers and for union recognition. The action is receiving wide support from the families of workers and the local community.

“The reason for the dismissal of our members was that they enjoyed trade union rights guaranteed by the country’s constitution” said Ergin Alşan, President of Selüloz-Is. “We vehemently protest dismissals of our members because of their joining our union. We clearly announce that our struggle will continue until our members are reinstated” added Alşan.

In his letter to Yılmaz Mineli, Owner and General Director of Form Mukavva, the ICEM General Secretary urged the company that sixteen dismissed workers must be immediately reinstated without delay. “This targeted and systematic attack by your management to block your employees from exercising their right to organise and bargain collectively will cause much anger. We expect the hindrance of union rights at Form Mukavva Ambalaj in Turkey to be solved without further intervention” added Warda. ICEM’s protest letter can be found here. Support letters to Selüloz-Is can be sent to selulozis@selulozis.org.tr. (4 July 2011)