Turkey’s women forestry workers want to unionise

The Civil Servants’ Union of Agriculture, Forestry, Husbandry and Environment Sectors (TARIM ORMAN-IS) celebrated this year’s International Women Month by giving voice to rural women workers in the forestry industry. 

TARIM ORMAN-IS met with rural women workers in Canakkale, Turkey on 8 March wherein they registered to union representatives their intention to unionise and enjoy social security coverage. They complained that most of them have been working for more than 30 years under precarious working conditions. The women workers said that their labour power has been continuously undervalued with piecemeal salaries.

TARIM ORMAN-IS President Sukru Durmus explained to the women workers that the union is standing up for the rights of rural women forestry workers by raising public awareness on their urgent needs and main problems. 

“For many years now, our union has been fighting side by side with rural forestry workers for their right to organise and collectively negotiate better working conditions. We will continue the fight until they are ensured of decent working conditions, comprised of social security coverage, just wages and the recognition of their right to organise,” Durmus said.

Although often considered to be a man-dominated field of work, rural women workers have been working in the forestry industry for many years already in Turkey. Women forestry workers suffer from precarious working conditions and lack of personal protective equipment.

TARIM ORMAN-IS said that the country’s forestry is one of the most dangerous industries for workers. In 2020, 611 workers lost their lives to work-related accidents and illnesses.