2015 ITUC Global Rights Index Rating: 5

Deva sacks workers for joining a union:

Public authorities instructed the company Deva to recognise Petrol-Is and begin collective bargaining on 14 October 2014. Instead, the company sacked three more workers for supporting the union. Already in 2010 Deva used a range of union busting tactics to dismantle a 40-year industrial relations system at plants in the Çerkezköy, Kartepe and the Topkapı area of Istanbul. Deva Holdings sacked 74 employees at that stage in 2010 when they refused to replace their collective agreement with individual contracts. Deva then sacked eight more workers on 22 July 2014 for exercising their right to join Petrol-Is. A total of 24 sackings had occurred in this latest union organising process.

Despite the mass sackings and other illegal anti-union pressure, Deva employees managed to organise the required majority to then file for and receive the official "Certificate of Competence" from the Ministry of Labour. Yet, Deva management announced it would never recognise and bargain with any union.

Below are the details regarding these three latest workers to be sacked for supporting a union.

1) Ramazan Atasever: He had one-and-a-half-year seniority. He was told that the reason for his dismissal was his physiological problems.

2) Şenol Aygün: He had eleven years seniority. The apparent reason for his dismissal was that he does not possess a sufficient level of academic qualifications for the technological processes required in his job. However, with eleven years' service in his position, it is a non-credible excuse for sacking someone for supporting a union.

3) Hasan Yiğit: He had seven years seniority. He was told that he was dismissed because of his earlier records inside the company. This once again sent a message to the workforce that they will be sacked for no valid reason if they support the union.

Government interferes in strike:

In June 2014, the government issued a decree to suspend a strike in the glass industry for 60 days on the grounds that it posed a risk to "public health and national security". The union Kristal-Is launched a strike at ten factories of the company Sisecam on 20 June 2014. The decree is based on article 63 of the legislative act no. 6356, the Law on Trade Unions and Collective Agreements. The Turkish government uses the regressive law on a routine basis to stifle workers from exercising their right to strike. This was the ninth major strike stifled in this way by the government since the year 2000. The government has never indicated a reason why any of the suspended glassworker strikes would be harmful to public health and national security.

Anti-union discrimination:

In April 2014, the company TÜVTÜRK dismissed eight union members at various vehicle inspection stations across Turkey for their organising campaign. Unions were able to sign collective agreements at certain plants of the company after successful organising campaigns despite the fact that the company continued to discriminate against trade unions.

In June 2014, members of the union Birlesik Metal-Is protested against union busting by advertising company M&T Reklam by holding several pickets. The company unlawfully dismissed 45 workers in total at its plants in Gebze and Duzce after the union conducted a successful organising campaign at both plants. Even though the union has been certified for collective bargaining by the Ministry of Labour, management chose to victimise workers instead of engaging in good faith bargaining.

Police Violence:

In April 2014, police stormed the Greif plant in Istanbul Hadimkoy and arrested 91 workers who held a sit-in. After negotiations with management over higher wages and the use of sub-contractors at the company failed, workers resorted to the strike action.

In April 2014, the Governor of Istanbul stated that unions would not be permitted to hold May Day celebrations at Taksim Square. Unions were told to hold the celebrations in Yenikapi Square instead. On 21 April 2014, police detained several trade unionists in Taksim square when union members were about to issue a press statement regarding May Day celebrations. Police used tear gas against the activists in order to prevent them from reading out the statement. On May Day 2014, about 142 demonstrators were detained and several people were injured when police attacked unions and political activists. About 40,000 police officers were deployed to cut all roads connecting to Taksim square.

The ITUC Global Rights Index Ratings:

1 // Irregular violation of rights
Collective labour rights are generally guaranteed. Workers can freely associate and defend their rights collectively with the government and/or companies and can improve their working conditions through collective bargaining. Violations against workers are not absent but do not occur on a regular basis.

2 // Repeated violation of rights
Countries with a rating of 2 have slightly weaker collective labour rights than those with the rating 1. Certain rights have come under repeated attacks by governments and/or companies and have undermined the struggle for better working conditions.

3 // Regular violation of rights
Governments and/or companies are regularly interfering in collective labour rights or are failing to fully guarantee important aspects of these rights. There are deficiencies in laws and/or certain practices which make frequent violations possible.

4 // Systematic violation of rights
Workers in countries with the rating 4 have reported systematic violations. The government and/or companies are engaged in serious efforts to crush the collective voice of workers putting fundamental rights under threat.

5 // No guarantee of rights
Countries with the rating of 5 are the worst countries in the world to work in. While the legislation may spell out certain rights workers have effectively no access to these rights and are therefore exposed to autocratic regimes and unfair labour practices.

5+ // No guarantee of rights due to the breakdown of the rule of law
Workers in countries with the rating 5+ have equally limited rights as countries with the rating 5. However, in countries with the rating 5+ this is linked to dysfunctional institutions as a result of internal conflict and/or military occupation. In such cases, the country is assigned the rating of 5+ by default.

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