We are happy to receive news that the following motion was passed at the UNITE policy conference held in Brighton in June. We’d like to thank Alain Herztmann at the London North West Branch 9708 of Unite for proposing the motion and for his and his branches long term support and friendship with the Kurds.
WORKERS IN TURKEY
This Conference commits itself to support workers in Turkey and their trade unions. It also supports the right of the Kurdish people in Turkey to self determination.
The AKP is the dominant party in Turkey and is has governed Turkey for several years. It is presenting itself as a moderate Islamic party. It projects itself as a moderate, modernising, democratic party, successful in developing the national economy on the basis of a neo-liberal economic agenda. De facto it has done so by a severe, ruthless exploitation of working people, implementing laws on:
“Flexible” work (outsourcing and off shoring)
“Flexible” wages (poverty wages even under the minimum wage level)
“Flexible” employment practices ( agency work legalised, contract work with practically no pension rights, no job security and the abolishing of the workers’ right to severance pay is imminent)
“Flexible” working hours (meaning 10 to 12 hours a day or more with extra time, seven days a week)
“Flexible” working conditions (with almost no safety precautions taken for the already over exhausted workers, leaving the door open for corporate murders as is well known in the shipbuilding industry and mines).
“Flexible” union laws which legalise open-shop practice in a country where the union membership is now less than 8%of the total work force. It is estimated that with the new laws to be passed by the Parliament, only 12 unions out of 100 will be left to represent the workers, with no unions representation in 17 industries.
The assault on the working class is total, while the organisations on the left are decimated.
The Turkish government and the ruling elite are using divide and rule policies by furthering division, competition and enmity among people based on religious, ethnic and political belonging ( anti-Alevi, anti-Kurds, anti-secular, anti-left sentiments among people).
The AKP party and its government is promoting a neo Ottoman political project aimed at dominating the Middle East, especially to control energy resources in the region. This is why Turkey is on a war footing (to insure her gains by hook or crook) with or without the support of the USA.
There is much talk about democracy by the AKP and the ruling elite. In fact there are currently 105 journalists in prisons in Turkey, most of them Kurdish. Thousands of Kurdish youths, intellectuals and national and local politicians have been jailed by the Turkish government using the anti-terrors laws.
Many union leaders have been jailed for leading actions for better working conditions.
Many people have been under arrest without charges for many years. Many people have been jailed just because they voiced their claims using the Kurdish language and asking for Kurdish autonomy within the Turkish state.
The legal system has collapsed and the trust in the Courts is no more. For example many murderers are let free because the victims were women. Many hundred of women have been murdered in recent years due to so-called honour killings. Judges were not passing sentences on the murderers because of the pressure from the religious authorities and from government–friendly circles.
The Turkish government and the ruling elite aim at further limitations of union rights. It has already lifted and will lift more of the jobs security by cancelling the severance pay system and it intends to destroy the right to a decent living wage, to a decent work place working conditions with health and safety protection.
The working class in Turkey needs this union’s active solidarity.
This Conference calls on our Executive Council to
1. Support workers in Turkey by sending a delegation to make contact with the Trade Unions Federations in Turkey and report its findings to the Executive Council
2. Encourage Industrial sector to sector links with Trade Unions in Turkey on a national, regional and local basis.
3. Urge the Regions and the Branches to develop links with similar sectors, be they regions, branches or organised workplaces.
4. Affiliate the union at national level to the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign to promote a political solution to the right of the Kurdish people in Turkey for self determination and autonomy.
5. Promote grass root solidarity by encouraging regions and branches to affiliate to the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign by providing up to date information on the level of repression carried out by the Turkish government against Kurdish people in Turkey.