Defend Trade Union Rights in Turkey.
“111 trade union leaders and members, including the President of the IUF-affiliated TEKGIDA-İŞ along with four other national officers of the union and 12 branch presidents, and current and former officers of the national centers DISK and KESK, have been indicted on criminal charges in connection with an April 1 demonstration in Ankara in support of 12,000 tobacco workers whose jobs and acquired rights were eliminated overnight.
The charges carry prison terms of up to 5 years.
The trials, which begin on June 3, are a massive attack on trade union rights and the rights of all workers. ”
The IUF has more:
“The Turkish government has filed criminal charges against 111 union leaders, members and supporters which carry prison terms of up to 5 years in connection with a 2010 demonstration in Ankara. The Ankara action was in support of 12,000 workers made redundant overnight following the privatization of the state tobacco monopoly TEKEL.
Following the sale of the TEKEL tobacco manufacturing activities to BAT in February 2008, the state retained control over the 40 warehouses where leaf and semi-processed tobacco was stored. IUF-affiliated Tekgida-Is, which represents the workforce at TEKEL, continually sought negotiations with the government over the future of the 12,000 warehouse workers, who were offered only insecure contracts at half their former wages and no rights or benefits. In December 2009, their employment was abruptly terminated.
Three months of union protests in Ankara brought no results, but as a goodwill gesture the union ceased public action and waited for a response to their demands for new employment with acquired rights – as required under Turkish law.
When the government failed to offer anything concrete, TEKGIDA-IS and their many supporters demonstrated again in Ankara on April 1, 2010. They were beaten and pepper-gassed – and now they face prison. “
(H/T: Eric Lee)