The unions operating in the metals sector in Turkey and members of IndustriALL Global Union came together for the first time in the two-day "IndustriALL Global Union Virtual Workshop on the Building of Union Power with Global Framework Agreements in the Automotive Sector in Turkey". The meeting, which will be held on 8-9 December 2020, will be attended by representatives of Türk Metal, Özçelik-İş and Birleşik Metal-İş from Turkey, as well as FTM of the CFDT Confederation from France and FTM of the CGT Confederation, FIM of the CISL Confederation from Italy, IG Metall from Germany and the American UAW Unions.
In the opening program held on the first day of the IndustriALL Global Union Virtual Workshop, our President Pevrul Kavlak made a speech. Kavlak, who started his speech by stating that new strategies should be determined in the union field against the new management strategies implemented by multinational companies under the conditions of globalization, said, “We, national sector unions, which are members of global federations, have to create new opportunities and create strong solidarity networks, especially in organizing and collective bargaining processes. Because when we raise our head and look around, the view does not seem pleasant for us. There are wars in every corner of the world, cities burned down, millions who lost their lives, hundreds of thousands of people who have been driven from their lands, become refugees. Increasing armament, economic crises, avalanche of unemployment, poverty and as a result of all these, people in despair. There's a generation that doesn't expect the future. That's exactly why we, the working class, need more sharing, solidarity, values like unity and togetherness. The time we live in has shown us that those who live on their labor force cannot fight against the order that creates all these evils without the working class coming together, without full solidarity. They can't deal with these problems."
“Organizing has not been as easy as thought. There is a great struggle in the background. "
President Kavlak stated that our union is widely organized in the automotive sector both in the main industrial companies and in the supply chains of these companies, and said: “Our union Türk Metal, we are widely organized in the automotive sector, the main industry, with a few exceptions such as Toyota. Our rate of organization is also high in the suppliers of these main industrial companies. There are also many foreign capital companies among these. However, organizing has not been as easy as thought. There is a great struggle in the background. Various prices have been paid. Today, there are still problems in this regard. I would like to give you an example from the two workplaces we have experienced in the past year and explain the situation more clearly. We started organizing work in Akwel workplace, which is located in Bursa and Gebze in Turkey, all with French capital and produces braking systems for factories such as Renault and Ford. However, about 35 of our workers were fired only because they were members of the union.
Even though we gained the majority in the workplace and got collective bargaining authorization, the employer tried to undermine the process by appealing to the court. Then, we stopped production in Bursa for three days. Workers took a sit-in with their families in front of the factory. They resisted until they got their rights. I don't want to go too far. Public managers, the main industry managers and the joint efforts of many sectors, we completed our organization in Bursa. And we signed a successful collective agreement. However, the same was not the case for Akwel in Gebze. The managers of the factory there fired many of our friends. However, in the end, we were successful there too, as a result of long struggles, demonstrations in front of the workplace, and discussions with factory managers in France. Our esteemed friend Kemal Özkan and our European friends, especially the French FTM-SJT Union, participated in these actions and supported them. Finally, we reached an agreement with the company's officials. We are currently in the collective bargaining process. Another example was experienced in the Bodo Bode workplace, mostly with German capital, in Bursa. Employers fired workers because we got organized there too. Our members stayed overnight in front of the factory for 13 days. There was great resistance. And finally, Türk Metal also achieved great success there.
"All the world's workers must be together under various roofs, but with one heart, one wrist."
Kavlak, stated that production has shifted from the West to countries that will bring more profit, but trade union rights and freedoms have been violated in this process, ın the last part of his speech, “What we can do as unions alone or even at the country level is limited. The struggle we will wage alone will not bring us any results. It is not enough to fight alone against the destroy of our social rights and the end of injustice. All the world's workers, under various roofs, but we must continue to be together as one heart, one wrist. We must resist this process by increasing our joint struggle with our strong global organizations such as IndustriALL Global and Europe. At this point, the Global Framework Agreements that multinational enterprises have individually signed with IndustriALL, the global industry federation, are an extremely effective and important tool in this process. It is vitally important for us to make these agreements more effective and binding in countries like ours where workers' rights and freedoms are not sufficiently taken into account. The struggle of the working class against globalization can only be successful if it can be effective international level. If we can be with our class brothers in every country in every region, we can be stronger against employers. ”said.
After our President Pevrul Kavlak, the opening speeches were completed with speeches made by the Presidents of other Trade Unions participating from Turkey and Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of industriALL Global Union. Following the opening speeches, Georg Leutert, Automotive and Aviation Sectors Director at IndustriALL Global Union, made a presentation titled “A Global Overview of Automotive and Suppliers Industries”.
In the second part of the Virtual Workshop Meeting our Vice President Uysal Altundağ, "Perspective from Turkey: Automobile Manufacturers Against the Current Situation and trade unions in the sector Upload Register as Challenges" topic of our union in restraint has expressed the views of the Turk Metal.
In the other part of the workshop titled "The State of the Unions in the Turkish Automotive Industry: The Nature of Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue and Systematic Violations of Rights", Yücel Top, the Coordinator of the European-Mediterranean Metal Unions Permanent Conference (EMUIC), shared his views on behalf of our union.
In the second part of the Virtual Workshop Meeting, Our Secretary General of Finance Murat Salar, Istanbul Branch President Mehmet Ali Akman and Man Turkey workplace union chief representative Yusuf Yilmaz also spoke and made evaluations about the problems experienced in organizing in Turkey.
The first day of the workshop ended with the speeches of IndustriALL Global Automotive and Aviation Sectors Director Georg Leutert and IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan.
Our Vice President, Halil Faki Erdal, the branch president, our workplace union representatives and the experts from the International Relations, Collective Agreement and Organization Bureaus attended the meeting held via video conference.