The 3rd General Assembly of the IndustriAll European Trade Union was held online for the first time on 1-2 June 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 180 trade unionists, 350 delegates and many observers from 38 countries attended the Congress. As Turk Metal family, our President Pevrul Kavlak and 8 delegates and 33 observers attended the congress.
Before the Congress IndustriAll Europe Executive Committee covened. Along with President Pevrul Kavlak, who is a member of the IndustriAll Europe Executive Board, our Vice-President Uysal Altundağ and our Financial Secretary Murat Salar also attended the Executive Committee meeting.
After the Executive Committee meeting, the Congress started with the speech of Michael Vassiliadis President of industriAll Europe; the problems faced by the trade unions, especially the effects of the epidemic process on the European Region, increasing unemployment, industry 4.0 and vaccine needs were discussed; the Strategic Plan of industriAll Europe, which sets out its priorities and actions for the next two years, has been adopted.
On the second day of the congress, the Petrol-İş Union's motion for "Labour practices of European multinational companies outside Europe" regarding the topic "Motions and Emergency Motions" was accepted by the Congress. Our Financial Secretary Murat Salar, who took the floor in the section where the Motions to be added to the Strategic Plan were discussed, started his speech by stating that our union participated in the Congress of IndustriAll for the first time. Reminding that the whole world is going through a difficult process due to the pandemic, Salar continued his speech, “The most basic reality that emerged during this epidemic period was the importance of trade union organization. Because, while organized workers survived this process with the least damage, the biggest victims of the process were unorganized workers. For this reason, we, as Turk Metal, have not been idle in this process. We continued our organizational activities. We have organized around forty new workplaces. A significant part of the workplaces we organized were European capitalized workplaces. However, I regret to state that we have experienced essential problems in these organization activities. The attitude of these foreign-capital companies in my country in union organization caused us difficulties.”
As stated in the Motion submitted to the Congress by Petrol-İş, he stated that the practices of European multinational companies in Turkey regarding organizing and union rights are different. “Many European multinational companies are putting pressure on workers who want to unionize by taking advantage of the legal loopholes in our country. It follows systematic methods to prevent union organization. Dismissals, forcing them to quit their union membership, are unfortunately frequently practiced by multinational companies in Turkey. Our demand and expectation is the development of audits on the labor practices of European companies in Turkey and other countries. For this reason, we think that the cooperation, coordinated actions and solidarity between our unions are very important. IndustriAll Europe stepped in from time to time in our organizations and supported us. For this reason, I would like to thank our dear friend Luc Triangle and his colleagues. However, it is our greatest wish that this support will continue to be increased and that member unions will contribute to this process. This is our expectation, both as Turk Metal and as other Turkish unions.”
In the two-day the Congress, Michael Vassiliadis was elected as IndustriAll European Trade Union President, Luc Triangle as General Secretary and Isabelle Barthès and Judith Kirton-Darling as Deputy Secretary Generals.