Workers at Arsan Kauçuk, operating in Ferizli OIZ and employing approximately 300 workers, have organized after their long efforts and become members of our union Lastik-İş. When the majority was constituted, Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services issued an official certificate to our union. However, the employer dismissed the workers on the grounds that they were union members despite goverment’s ban on dismissals of workers.
Our union’s Adapazarı Branch held a press release on 12 December 2020 in front of Arsan Kauçuk factory and our union’s Adapazarı branch executives, representatives and Arsan Kauçuk workers attended the press release to show our union struggle.
In response, our international parent organization IndustriALL Global Union sent a letter to Arsan Kauçuk calling on Arsan Kauçuk to respect fundamental workers’ rights, reinstate the dismissed union members and enter into dialogue with Lastik-İş.
I am writing this letter to you on behalf of IndustriALL Global Union, representing more than fifty million workers in the manufacturing supply chain, including the rubber sector, to urge Arsan Kauçuk Plastik Makine Sanayii ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi to respect fundamental workers’ rights, reinstate the dismissed union members, and enter into dialogue with Lastik- İş. Please note that Lastik-İş is one of the affiliates of IndustriALL Global Union in Turkey.
IndustriALL Global Union is aware of the ongoing unionisation activity conducted by our affiliate Lastik-İş at the production facility of Arsan Kauçuk in Ferizli, Sakarya. The majority of workers at the plant exercised their fundamental right to join a union, which is guaranteed by national labour law and international core labour standards, and thus became members of Lastik-İş.
Furthermore, the Turkish Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services issued an official certificate dated 13 November 2020 confirming that Lastik-İş has a sufficient majority to be able to become a bargaining partner.
We are outraged to learn that your management has acted aggressively against the workers, punishing them —including systematic intimidation and threats— for joining Lastik-İş. Union members are forced to resign from our affiliate Lastik-İş.
In addition, we are appalled to know that after the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services sent the official certificate, your management has dismissed 11 union members, namely Cengiz Likoz, İsmet Kaçmaz, Enes Kocacık, Uğur Akarsu, Mustafa Lata, Onur Kaplan, Volkan Kılıç, Özkan Aslan, Hüseyin Sarı, Ufuk Turgut and Erdal Öztürk. The legal entitlements of three of the dismissed union members were even not paid. These dismissals have happened at a time when the government has extended the moratorium on terminations of employment contracts.
The overall situation at Arsan Kauçuk is unacceptable.
The behaviour of Arsan Kauçuk constitutes a blatant violation of Turkish labour law as well as fundamental international labour standards, including Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, and Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining of the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Article 51 of the Turkish Constitution states that “employees have the right to form labour unions, without obtaining permission, and they also possess the right to become a member of a union and to freely withdraw from membership, in order to safeguard and develop their economic and social rights and the interests of their members in their labour relations. No one shall be forced to become a member of a union or to withdraw from membership.”
Likewise, Article 17 of Law 6356 reads that “any person who completes 15 years of age and who is considered as a worker in accordance with the provisions of this Law may join a workers’ trade union.”
International labour standards enshrine the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively through the trade union of their choice. These are basic principles your major customers adhere to.
Therefore, we urge Arsan Kauçuk to respect fundamental workers’ rights in line with national and international labour laws, reinstate the unfairly dismissed 11 union members, and engage in good-faith dialogue and negotiations with Lastik-İş.
We truly hope that Arsan Kauçuk will take immediate corrective measures, and that, as a result, it will not be necessary for IndustriALL Global Union to take any further action, particularly vis-à-vis your main customers, given the fact that Arsan Kauçuk exports 60% of its total production and generates 85% of its turnover from Europe, along with more than 50 other countries.
I anticipate your swift response and action.