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Trade unionists in Turkey call for international support after sackings

WORKERS at a factory in Turkey have issued an appeal for international support and solidarity and demanded the reinstatement of nearly 100 workers sacked for joining a trade union.

Kale Pratt aerospace factory workers in the coastal city of Izmir are fighting union-busting bosses, with 94 fired after they joined the United Metal-is union.

They have started legal proceedings against bosses, as Turkey’s constitution claims to guarantee workers the right to join a union “without obtaining permission.” 

Some of the fired workers have started a picket outside the factory, which makes component parts for F-35 fighter jets, and outside the gates of the Gaziemir Aegean Free Zone where it is situated.

One of the workers spoke to the Morning Star on condition of anonymity and said that their resistance will continue until all of those who were sacked are reinstated.

The factory is owned by Pratt & Whitney, a US-based aerospace manufacturer with nearly 40,000 workers in 180 countries.

In October 2014 it was awarded a $592 million [£453m] contract by the US Defence Department to supply F135 engines for the F-35 fighter jet.

The factory opened in Izmir in the same year and, due to its position in the Aegean Free Zone, enjoys special and flexible regulations aimed at encouraging exports and foreign direct investment.

Companies based in the free zones pay no corporation or income tax and can freely transfer their profits abroad. Businesses that sell at least 85 per cent of their products abroad are exempt from the income tax payable on the salaries of their employees.

But the areas are notorious hubs of exploitation as global companies seek to extract further profits from a low-paid workforce.

One of those sacked by the company appealed for international pressure and support for their action. 

“Workers across the world can show their solidarity by demanding that bosses at the factory give us our jobs back.

“Joining a trade union is not a crime. It is our right to organise collectively, but bosses are afraid of the workers.

“Turkey is becoming more like a dictatorship. If we try and strike, they ban it and then throw us in prison saying that we are terrorists.

“We will continue our resistance until every sacked worker has their job back and our right to join a union is recognised.”

Emails can be sent to the company at: [email protected].



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