Published: 27/08/2010

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called for global solidarity with their affiliate TUMTIS at the Turkish subsidiary of global logistics giant UPS. Since April 13, when management began resorting to physical intimidation and forced resignations to crush an organizing drive, 157 union members and supporters have been dismissed by UPS and its subcontractors: 126 at 3 UPS facilities in Istanbul, 27 in Izmir and the remainder at 2 other cities. In Izmir, management fired gunshots at the TUMTIS picket line; workers at another site who protested against their replacement by contract workers were attacked by riot police; and since the onset of the religious holiday Ramadan, workers have been pressured to swear to God that they are not members of the union. If they admit their membership, they get the sack.

Workers at the 80% UPS-owned subsidiary Unsped Global Lojistic Ticaret AS receive wages amounting to EUR 382 a month – a whisper above the union-estimated hunger line of EUR 377; contract workers, who make up a large proportion of the 5,000 workers at UPS Turkey, earn well below. Working days of 10-14 hours, 6 days a week, are common. Delivery workers’ movements are tracked, and their pay is docked for toilet stops.

TUMTIS has maintained a daily picket line since the dispute began, backed by their national center TURK-IS and solidarity visits from international ITF affiliates. The ITF has called on its affiliates to support an international day of action on September 1, with further action days planned should the dispute continue. You can support this crucial struggle for union rights in Turkey, where worker rights are systematically denied and repressed.

What you can do

TUMTIS and the ITF are demanding the unconditional reinstatement of all dismissed workers, an end to the ongoing harassment and victimization and a genuine union/management dialogue.

Campaign materials, including a fact sheet, a model letter to the UPS CEO and a list of worldwide UPS offices, are available and can be downloaded from the ITF UPS Turkey campaign website.

In addition to supporting the letter campaign and demonstrating at local UPS offices, unions can strengthen the international support for TUMTIS by calling on employers who use UPS services to consider changing their provider – and making their request known to the UPS CEO.

Take action and spread the word!