On June 25, 2020 the meeting of the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors on Covid-19 was held by our international parent union IndustriALL Global Union via video-conference. Representing our union, International Relations Officer Cemal Hoşver attended the meeting which included 180 union representatives from various countries of the world, lasted about 4 hours.
The meeting started with a presentation by Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union Kemal Özkan, located in Geneva, Switzerland. In the presentation, the general overview of the Covid-19 pandemic, responses and actions of IndustriALL on Covid-19 were mentioned. IndustriALL Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sector Director Tom Grinter made a presentation about impacts and approaches to Covid-19 in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Speaking on behalf of our union, Cemal Hoşver:
“Coronavirus affecting many countries globally caused the world to shut down. Turkey has also been severely affected by this outbreak. In our country many factories suspended production, but these suspensions were not for protection of workers’ health, but for the decrease in the orders of manufacturing companies. With legal regulation made by the government, layoffs in all sectors are banned for 3 months. However, this regulation paved the way for the employer to put the workers on unpaid leave without consent of the worker and termination of employment contracts. Workers on unpaid leave are paid much lower than unemployment benefit and short-time work allowance they would normally be entitled to. However, with the Covid-19 crisis which workers need organization most, services of official certification and collective bargaining processes have been suspended for 3 months by temporary arrangement made in the Law. In plants which our union organized social distancing areas have been made with several regulations. Regular disinfection processes are carried out in production lines, dining halls, dressing rooms, showers, shuttles and other areas covered by plants. With increased production in chemical and pharmaceutical sectors, production couldn’t be stopped. In plants some changes were made on shifts that a smaller number of workers would work alternately. Job security was guaranteed for our union’s members who have chronic disease and were unable to work because of the pandemic. In order to protect the health of our members in workplaces where confirmed cases of coronavirus observed, our union made employer suspend the production in necessary situations. In many plants production was partially halted, while in some plants it was completely halted. Our union Lastik-İş has taken various steps to secure the jobs and income of our members in workplaces where production was suspended and short-time work started to be applied. These steps includes especially preventing dismissal of workers, unilateral practices of employers and introduction of unpaid leave.”
The meeting ended after union representatives from Finland, USA, Germany, South Africa, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Austria, Morocco, Indonesia, Brazil and Belgium talked about the situation in their country and unions’ responses.