Tuesday, August 31, 2010

UPS Freight Staff Support Turkish Colleagues Over Union Dispute

Problems Continue at Parcel Carrier's Depots
Shipping News Feature

TURKEY – The union membership dispute we reported in July at express freight carrier UPS rumbles on despite the group's head office’s intervention. According to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) trade union members in over forty cities worldwide will demonstrate tomorrow in a day of action to protest the company’s actions.

The ITF tell us that since April 2010, 157 employees of UPS Turkey have been dismissed without any application of the procedures specified under Turkish law. All of the dismissed workers are union members or were interested in union representation. On 2nd July the conflict escalated even further when the manager of a sub-contractor fired shots at the office of a notary public in Izmir where, union representatives reported, he had been trying to force workers to resign their union membership.

ITF General Secretary David Cockroft commented:

“Trade unionists - especially those working for UPS in other countries - are taking action to show that this type of intimidatory behaviour is not acceptable in the company they work for.

“We welcome recent mediation efforts from the UPS headquarters in Atlanta and Brussels to address this ongoing and unpleasant situation, and hope that the managers in Turkey will pay attention to their colleagues’ concerns. If those Turkish managers choose not to do so, then we will prepare for further worldwide action in a second global day on September 15th.”

Kenan Ozturk, President of the Turkish trade union TÜMTIS said:

“UPS workers in Turkey face aggression. International support will send a clear message to UPS that anti-union activity is not acceptable. Global workers' solidarity can help to defeat an attack by employers.”

Demonstrations to support the sacked workers have a truly international flavour with Teamsters members protesting at five UPS depots in the USA, three separate unions involved in talks in Australia and further demonstrations and representations across the world in India, Thailand, South Africa, Japan, Korea, the UK and elsewhere.

In Turkey, TÜMTİS will lead the mass demonstration in Istanbul to the UPS's headquarters in Zeytinburnu. Public declarations will be made in Gaziantep, Ankara, Balıkesir, Bursa, Mersin and Adana. They will be joined by the wider trade union and civil society movements, including the national labour centre, TÜRK-İŞ and its affiliates. Local NGOs such as TAREM are supporting the campaign.

Once again despite repeated telephone calls the Handy Shipping Guide was unable to elicit a response from UPS on the subject. A video of July’s demonstration in Turkey is available to view HERE.