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DHL Turkey under international spotlight

DHL Turkey under international spotlight over worker dismissals

International and European unions today condemned DHL Turkey's refusal to work with Turkish union Tumtis to solve the ongoing dispute over the dismissal of 20 union members apparently for their attempts to organise a union in the company's warehouses.

Following visits to the picket lines in Gebze and Esenyurt in Istanbul, representatives from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and UNI Europa joined Tumtis president Kenan Ozturk at a press conference. There they set out the facts of the dismissals and described how in its labour practices DHL Turkey is acting contrary to both DHL's global corporate responsibility policies and Turkey's commitments as a signatory to global labour rights conventions. Other Turkish trade unions also attended the event in a show of solidarity

Alen Clifford, organising globally assistant coordinator at the ITF, said: “DHL Turkey's claims that these workers were dismissed for underperformance appear patently untrue. In each case heard at the Turkish labour courts the dismissals have been declared invalid. I have heard first-hand accounts of workers sacked for not doing overtime in fact regularly working large amounts of overtime. And I have also been told of bullying tactics and threats by managers at so-called ‘training sessions’ to persuade workers to resign from the union.

“This kind of anti-union behaviour will not be tolerated by the international trade union family, which is helping Tumtis by putting the global spotlight on DHL Turkey. Our campaign will not end until the workers are reinstated and Tumtis has established a collective bargaining agreement with DHL in Turkey.”

Cornelia Broos, policy officer for post & logistics at UNI Europa, said: "People claim that Turkey is not ready to join the European Union but it seems in fact that it is European companies operating in Turkey who are not ready. They appear unwilling to adopt the same labour standards in Turkey that they do elsewhere in the EU.

She continued: “It is a fundamental right to join and organise a trade union free from intimidation. In Germanycompanies take labour rights and respect for unions very seriously but what we see at Deutsche Post-DHL is that across borders, even where these fundamental rights should be guaranteed, DHL is ignoring them in Turkey, Belgium and elsewhere. This is why we need a global framework agreement to guarantee rights wherever Deutsche Post-DHL operates.”

Concluding the press conference,Kenan Ozturk said: “The International support we are receiving sends a very clear message to DHL Turkey that they are under scrutiny around the world. It also strengthens the resolve of Tumtis to keep on with the struggle until the dismissed workers are reinstated and the company recognises the union. We call on DHL Turkey to get round the table with us immediately.”

The ITF has launched a global campaign for the reinstatement of the dismissed workers, to get DHL Turkey into talks with Tumtis, and to implement DHL's global corporate responsibility policies, in which the company pledges to respect workers' rights to organise and not allow any management interference.

The stories that workers have told ITF are available to read on the dedicated www.respectatDHLturkey.org campaign site and via www.itfglobal.org/campaigns/dismissed-DHL-workers-speak.cfm Photos from the picket lines can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/itf/sets/72157631063397044
You are free to reproduce these if you wish to.

ENDS

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