Sütas Dairy Company dismisses workers, then dumps manure to intimidate picketing unionists in Turkey

08.09.14 Urgent Action
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Union members at the Turkish Sütas dairy company are fighting for their rights against mass intimidation by management including dismissals, criminal complaints to the prosecution office, police raids on the union offices and the dumping of 13 tons of liquid manure on the sit-in area across the factory gate where the dismissed workers were picketing.  CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO SÜTAS.

sutasThe IUF-affiliated Tobacco, Drink, Food and Allied workers Union TEKGIDA-Is began organizing workers at Sütas in 2012. To stop unionization the employer immediately dismissed 30 workers. Workers and their union refused to surrender their rights and continued to organize. So far 83 workers have been dismissed after joining the union in 2 factories in Bursa-Karacabey and Istanbul-Aksaray. Many workers are harassed and compelled to resign their union membership by threats and calls to their families. Other workers have been dismissed for posting comments critical of the company on social media. Workers are forced to give their e-state passwords (online password for all government business) to the employer, through which company officials can determine whether workers are unionized or not. Although this is a criminal act by the employer, those who refuse are dismissed.

Dismissed workers together with their families have been picketing at the factory gate since April 2014. Management surrounded the area with trucks to prevent the picketers from being seen. When the dismissed workers refused to disperse, the management poured 13 tons of liquid manure on the sit-in area. While this was intended to end the picket and disperse the protesters, it attracted flies onto the dairy plant and compromised food safety. Eventually management had to clean up the area and disinfect the surrounding villages.

The owner of the factory, Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TÜSIAD) Chairman Muharrem Yilmaz stood down from this position after news broke of the manure scandal at the Sütas factory.

Picketing workers and TEKGIDA-Is officers have been violently attacked and arrested by police officers to break up the demonstration at the Karacabey factory gate.

CLICK HERE TO SEND A MESSAGE TO SUTAS demanding unconditional reinstatement of the 83 workers with full back pay and full recognition of their trade union rights.