Round 2 of the TEKEL struggle: workers against the unions

The TEKEL struggle has restarted - this time in Istanbul.

The TEKEL struggle which gave birth to the "Ankara Soviet", a collection of tents which workers gathered and lived around for 80 days in the center of Ankara, Kızılay, was one of the most important struggles in Turkey for several years. The new law - famously known as 4C - which turned the workers into contractors, was the cause. The unions maneuvered the workers to go back home and wait for the labor court's decision. After that they forced them to move to contractor status. However only a few were placed into jobs. So around 2 weeks ago some workers went to union headquarters asking the union guys to keep their promises for struggle. But they met with cops who would not let them in the union building.

So they built up their tents again. Right now they are waiting in front of the union building since around 2 weeks, inside tents against the cold and rain. Right now there are about 10-15 workers but tomorrow morning 20-30 more will arrive from the other cities. This time the lines are clearer...

Posted By

mikail firtinaci
Oct 16 2010 01:21


Attached files


Oct 16 2010 05:28

I think that this is quite sad really. It represents a small group of workers in a desperate situation who fail to see that a struggle is effectively over, and respond by calling yet another demonstration each time with yet smaller numbers*.

When you contrast it with the over 100,000 workers who were at the biggest TEKEL demonstration, it becomes quite clear.


*The last one they called in Ankara had about 50.

mikail firtinaci
Oct 16 2010 10:44

actually in Ankara the "tent city" never had more than 200 TEKEL workers in it. Basically because there was no strike so the workers could only come on turns, and they were taking a leave...

So todays 35 is not few compared to that and there are TEKEL workers in İstanbul who are really working here.

But they themselves seem to realize the weakness of the situation, so they say "we are going to act more like a flying picket this time, we will go to everywhere, demos, other resistances, strikes etc".

In fact in a group of skyscraper workers who were working close by, and who were fired because one of them talked with a journalist about working conditions, about they did not receive wage since months etc, also joined them in one occasion.

So unlike Ankara there is this kind of a potential in İstanbul...

Oct 17 2010 00:06
actually in Ankara the "tent city" never had more than 200 TEKEL workers in it.

where is this figure from? it is quite contrary to both my personal impression, and that of the numbers given by the workers' i've spoken during the struggle. i think the lowest was about a 1000, while on the 17th of january demo there were near 9000 tekel workers in the tent city.

if i recall correctly, it was about 200 tekel workers who opposed the putting down of the tents - who were in the minority of course.

of course, i believe the majority of the tekel workers unfortunately already signed 4-c.

mikail firtinaci
Oct 17 2010 12:44


Apart from the demos, like the one on 17th jan., there was a circulation of workers because of the reasons I explained above. The number is from various different workers I talked.

Yes as I said above, the majority of the workers has already signed 4C but they don't have any job yet as it was promised. That is the question right now.