At ‘Texim’, a Turkish textile factory that produces clothing for Hugo Boss and Pierre Cardin, thirty eight workers have been sacked for legitimate trade union organising
Their crime was attempting to resist punishing changes to working conditions, and to object to an impossible 50% increase in production from machine operators in the knitting department.
Workers from the knitting department have led the drive for unionisation at Texim, and it is solely workers from the knitting department who have been singled out for dismissal.
Following their dismissal, the sacked workers and their supporters have been peacefully protesting outside the factory, demanding to be re-instated.
After fifty days of the peaceful protest, the bosses became inpatient and arranged for the intervention of the police to bring the dispute to an end. As a morning picket was due to start as usual, twelve buses of police officers in full riot gear arrived at the factory gates.
Workers were attacked and forced away from the factory, and subsequently ‘penned in’ several blocks away. Any workers who attempted to leave the pen and return to the factory were assaulted by the police. There are reports of many workers being injured, with at least two being hospitalised.
Since the dismissals, trade union membership in the factory has rocketed, which has led the bosses to sack several other well know militants and agitators.
In Turkey, union busting is rife, particularly in the textile industry. This year has seen many examples of bosses laughing in the face of labour legislation, whilst the government simply turns a blind eye.
This article was originally published in Freedom Newspaper.