Turkey: 1000 days of fighting for union civil liberties at #Cargill Turkey

Since April 2018, workers at Cargill Turkey have actually been fighting for their right to join as well as be represented by a union – an essential human right. The IUF stands together with them.

Cargill: the business Minnesota, USA-based Cargill is among the world’s biggest private firms, with over USD 113 billion in sales in 2019. Cargill employs 170,000 workers in 70 nations, across the globe. Originally grain investors, Cargill today has procedures in meat and also fowl, food and also drink ingredients, key commodity trading as well as processing, and also financial solutions. Basically every major company in the IUF sectors purchases from Cargill.

Several IUF affiliates have collective negotiating arrangements with Cargill. At Cargill Turkey, however, management has actually made it clear it does not desire a union; considering that 2015, the highest-level courts in Turkey have actually released definitive rulings that Cargill has actually rejected workers punitive for their union task as well as subscription, and also bought them restored. However no worker illegally rejected at Cargill Turkey has actually been restored, since there is a loophole in the legislation: business can pay for their human rights infractions instead of reinstate the victimized employees. Cargill corporate management has defended these actions.

Offenses of trade union civil liberties at Cargill Turkey

Fourteen production employees at Cargill’s starch factory in Bursa-Orhangazi were rejected on April 17, 2018 while attempting to organize a union. These dismissals came quickly after their union, IUF affiliate Tekgıda-İş, had officially gotten cumulative bargaining status for workers at Cargill’s 4 food centers in Turkey after reaching what the union believed to be the needed 40% legal limit for a multi-unit negotiating accreditation. To deny collective bargaining accreditation, Cargill challenged the union’s application by adding employees in the head office to the legal bargaining device, triggering Tekgıda-İş membership to fall below the 40% limit.

The 14 terminations in April 2018 followed earlier terminations of 7 other workers at the very same factory who were likewise trying to arrange a union. These 7 employees won their lawsuit in 2015 and 2018, when Turkey’s High court concluded that they were disregarded in retaliation for their union activity.

In December 2019 and also February 2020, Bursa’s Area Court issued verdicts for 12 of the employees rejected on April 17, 2018 (2 workers did not oppose their dismissals). The Court validated that 8 of these employees were dismissed solely for their union task. The other 4, according to the Court, were unjustly rejected, because there was no financial justification for their terminations and also Cargill had actually fallen short to supply them alternative operate in the firm. All 12 verdicts ordered reinstatement.

All these dismissals at Cargill breach core ILO Conventions 87 and 98, which safeguard employees’ legal rights to freedom of association, to organize and also to take part in cumulative bargaining. ILO law prescribes reinstatement as the solution for anti-union termination. Cargill has attempted to warrant the terminations on totally financial grounds, mentioning that the manufacturing facility needed to scale down after the government customized the quota system of starch-based sugar parts. The termination notices all state that the company had sought alternative positions at Cargill for the rejected workers, but none might be discovered.

The manufacturing facility has actually been employing with 9 new long-term manufacturing work included given that December 9, 2019.

If the dismissals, as Cargill claims, were the repercussion of scaling down and have absolutely nothing to do with union membership, why were the dismissed employees not used these freshly developed manufacturing jobs? Why were workers without experience or training worked with rather? Cargill’s defense is not reliable. Cargill asserts to regard freedom of association, but their attorneys acted to block lawful acknowledgment and avoid collective negotiating with Tekgıda-İş.

The employees that were brutally dismissed by Cargill in April 2018 still want their work back and also are determined to proceed defending their union and their civil liberties. For 2 years, they have actually picketed, rallied as well as marched. Below are some of their stories:

Eşref Özkan”After operating at Cargill for 14 months I came to be a union member. After signing up with the union I was disregarded. Together with my various other rejected colleagues that were additionally union protestors, we have actually been fighting this injustice as well as demanding reinstatement for 730 days. We will remain to deal with up until we obtain our jobs back.”

Faik Kutlu

“A week after Tekgıda-İş related to the Labour Ministry for collective negotiating condition at the plant, my department supervisor told me as well as a few other associates that we had actually placed a union between the workers and also their employer.”

Özgür Yiğit”I operated at the Cargill Orhangazi manufacturing facility in quality assurance for 2 years. After becoming a Tekgıda-İş profession union member and also following our trade union’s negotiating device standing application to the Work Ministry, Cargill management rejected me as well as my 13 various other colleagues that were additionally union activists on April 17, 2018. These terminations were unfair. My associates as well as I have actually battled against this illegal activity. And also we have shown our instances by winning in the court.”

Muharrem Özcan

“I am wed as well as have one child. I worked at the Cargill Orhangazi manufacturing facility for 19 years, given that it opened up. With my years of experience I added to a much better functioning manufacturing facility. Trying to find better working problems I ended up being a member of Tekgıda-İş as well as Cargill dismissed me on April 17, 2018, on the pretext that there was an allocation reduction in sugar. The real factor was that we were trying to construct a union organization in the plant.”

Fatih Gürhan “I began operating at the Orhangazi plant as a manufacturing operator on August 1, 2001 after working as an electrician to create the plant. In the first years of manufacturing, we experienced several troubles, yet we embraced our tasks as if business was ours and strove to develop a successful business for Cargill.

Every year problems worn away. When we increased our issues and problems to the administration, they endangered us with termination. We needed to get arranged to safeguard our rights and advantages. We became Tekgıda-İş participants and also came under much more pressure from the administration. Union members got smaller sized wage increases on the pretext of poor efficiency.

After 17 years of striving at Cargill, I was dismissed in addition to my associates that were likewise union lobbyists, with the justification that the sugar allocation was minimized.

I have actually been defending my civils rights for 2 years. The only way to treat our gone against rights is by restoring us.”

Abdullah Saraç

“I am married and have 2 youngsters. I operated at Cargill for 8 years; when it was needed, I burnt the midnight oil and also sacrificed time with my youngsters. When I exercised my right to be a profession union participant, I was rejected. I signed up with the battle together with my rejected colleagues who were also union lobbyists, but it has actually been hard on my family members. I need to work several informal tasks to place bread on the table. I want my task back and I desire Cargill to correct the continuous legal rights violations in its procedures in Turkey.”