WHAT IS HAPPENNING IN COCA COLA PLANTS IN TURKEY?
Workers in Coca Cola plants in Turkey have changed their tradeunion. However Turkish Labor Ministry and their older pro-governmental tradeunion Oz Gida resists and denies their rights. Although Tekgida-Is Tradeunion acquired majority at Coca Cola, Labor Ministry with forged documents accredits olderunion. Courts to decide on the unlawful decision.
Workers in Turkey’s Coca Cola plants, last year, decided to change their trade union and finalized the whole process a few months ago. However their decisions were curbed by the Ministry of Labour who denied their fundamental right in coordination with the Oz Gida-Is, a pro-governmental union and a member of Hak-Is Confederation.
There are a total of 1041 workers in nine Coca Cola plants all over Turkey. Workers had changed their trade union in 2005 and registered for Oz Gıda-Is. However in the last seven years they were unsatisfied with the union and decided to make return to their former organization.
In the middle of 2011, a group of workers visited Tekgida-Is Trade Union and said they wanted to organize in the union and asked for help. Tekgida-Is welcomed the decision and said they would help if all the workers were willing.
Workers began to resign from Oz Gida in the middle of 2011 and finished the process in the beginning of April 2012. The whole process was controlled and managed by workers in the plants.
Tekgida-Is, on April 1, declared majority at coca Cola plants and said that it would apply for official accreditation to the Ministry of Labour.
Just a few days later ironically Ministry of Labor officials declared that they had identified Oz Gida as the official trade union to have the majority. Tekgida officials objected to the decision and sait it was unlawful and contradicting with the basic rules of arithmetic.
The union also said they had found out that Oz Gida and the Labor Ministry had excluded two plants of Coca Cola in the procedure in order to grant majority and accreditation for Oz Gida. However even with the forged documentation Oz Gida was unable to gain majority since the union had only 160 members among 1041.
Oz Gida in cooperation with the ministry were using old unlawful ways they had used in Caykur, -the major tea plants in Turkey,- presenting false membership records to reach a total of 415 members and gaining majority among 800 workers when two Coca Cola plants were excluded.
Labour Ministry not only helped the pro-governmental union by excluding two plants which were in the same statute a year ago but also unlawfully ignored resignations and accepted fake memberships.
Tekgida-Is applied against the unlawful decision and asked for cancellation, as well as demanded punishment for those who violated the law.
As of April 1, Tekgida-Is has registered over 600 Coca Cola workers, a wide majority in every single plant. Resignations continue from Oz Gida which only have 160 members and the number decreases every day.
Ankara plant which was excluded in the calculation is among the biggest Coca Cola plants in Turkey, 144 workers whom 106 of them are registered in Tekgida-Is. The ministry’s decision to exclude Coca Cola’s Ankara plant is clearly unlawful and will be reversed by the independent courts like it was done in Caykur.
The whole process is a joint action by pro-governmental trade union and Labour Ministry. The same tactics were used to deceive Caykur workers which ended a legal defeat for Oz Gida but resulting in loosing the right to enjoy a collective bargaining right of Caykur workers for four years. The legal procedure still continues and is close to end soon.
Working with the government may benefit some trade unions but it doesn’t help Turkish workers at all according to our experience and those who committ it is in strict violation of ILO 87th Convention.
Tekgida-Is in Turkey is not only fighting against unlawful and illegitimate acts of with the government and ministries but also with the pro-governmental unions feeling powerful and knowing no legal limits in rules and ethics with the help of governments.
Tekgida officials says they respect the decision and ambition of Coca Cola workers and ask for a referendum in all plants so that free will of the workers may win.