Published: 03/08/2010

The IUF has filed a second complaint against UK- based Compass Group under the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises in response to the firing of two union activists in Turkey.

In December last year, major rights violations by Compass in Algeria were the basis of a formal IUF submission to the OECD by the IUF.  This case is currently in the process of mediation through the UK National Contact Point for the Guidelines.

In Turkey, Compass workers belonging to the IUF’s affiliate TEKGIDA-İŞ. report long working hours, poor working conditions and incorrect payment of overtime. The IUF has it on good authority that when Compass discovered that workers were organising at a number of sites in response to these problems, they convened a meeting of local managers at their Istanbul headquarters with the goal of stopping unionization: managers were instructed to fire workers if they joined the union or became involved in union activities.

This led to the dismissal of, among others Engin Kocak and Saban Dadas in August 2009. Both were employed by Compass at the Efes Brewery in Istanbul and had been active in encouraging their co-workers to join the union. Their firing was clearly intended to intimidate other workers and prevent them for joining or being represented by the union.Workers based at the Alliance Tobacco factory in Izmir were also dismissed after joining the union.

Engin Kocak and Saban Dadas both challenged their dismissal through the Istanbul Labour Court, claiming they had been terminated as a result of their union activities and demanding reinstatement to their former positions. In February 2010, the court ruled that they had been unjustly dismissed and ordered reinstatement, or the payment of compensation. Compass submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court, and the decision is pending.

The situation in Turkey is another clear demonstration that Compass’ claims to respect worker rights and freedom of association are not matched by their actions on the ground. Workers in Turkey, Algeria and every country where Compass operates want the company to guarantee that they can exercise their right to join a union free from intimidation and reprisal.