Turkish workers fight union busting

Fifty-four (54) workers of the ASD Laminat Factory in Düzce, Turkey were dismissed as a result of their membership to the BWI-affiliated Turkish Wood and Paper Industry Workers’ Union (AGAC-IS). 

It was reported that the trade union has started organising majority of ASD Laminat’s workers as early as 2017 and has successfully obtained legal authority to enter into collective bargaining negotiations with the company. 

The company refused to recognise the union and went to court. It also resorted to union-busting schemes, such as arbitrarily dismissing unionists and pressuring other workers to renounce their union membership. 

After a four-year legal battle, the local court ruled in favour of the workers’ reinstatement. However, the company continued to defy the court’s decision and has intensified its anti-union practices. On 30 June, it started dismissing workers immediately after the pandemic “lay-off ban” was lifted. As of 14 July, another 19 workers were fired. 

AGAC-IS started organising protest actions in front of the company to press for their rights. It said that it is expecting authorisation in a few months to start the process of collective bargaining negotiations, even as it prepares to fight for the reinstatement of the remaining dismissed workers. 

The union said that the protests were widely covered and reported by the Turkish media.