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19 Sep 2022

Evrensel Daily

Turkey: Unionised Euroserve workers at Philip Morris International supplier demand equal pay with permanent workers, pay rise, reinstatement of workers dismissed following organising efforts & collective bargaining with employers

"Euroserve workers demand trade union rights", 19 September 2022


The DİSK-affiliated Gıda-İş Union, which had been carrying out organising work at the Philip Morris (Marlboro) factory for two years, completed its organising work in a short period of two weeks when 70% of the workers working at EUROSERVE Hizmet ve İşletmecilik A.Ş., a subcontractor in the same factory, became members of the union.  Following this, Disk Gıda-İş Headquarters sent a meeting request to both Philips Morris Headquarters and Euroserve Hizmet ve İşletmecilik A.Ş. Headquarters on 25 August 2022, but there was no positive or negative response from the headquarters of both companies.

A Euroserve worker who attended the meeting said: "We work in the same factory and do the same jobs as our brothers and sisters working in Philip Morris company. In fact, since we are subcontracted workers, we do heavy work in many departments that Philip Morris workers do not do. Despite this, we receive an average of one third of the salary of Philip Morris workers. They have promotion rights, they receive extra payments, they are taken on holiday in luxury hotels, but we have no social rights. We cannot make a living. We have no peace at work."

Another Euroserve worker said, "We are forced to work overtime here without any holidays. I have friends who have worked 270 hours of overtime per year in just 3-4 months. In every department, they do things according to their own minds. There is no order in the workplace."

Another worker who was dismissed for this reason in the early days of unionisation efforts said, "...Since my house is not on the shuttle route, I used to go to work by public transport or my private car. 3 years ago I requested a travel allowance. That day I started to receive a monthly travel allowance of 150 TL. Until the day I was dismissed, my travelling allowance never changed despite the high inflation rate and the recent 300% increase in almost everything. They continued to give 150 liras per month."

Ufuktan Öden, Aegean Regional Representative of the Gıda-İş Union, who we asked about the status of unionisation efforts, explained the process to us as follows:

"Our union organisation activities, which we carried out among the permanent workers of Philip Morris Company in this factory two years ago, took another dimension in early August when the workers of Euroserve Hizmet ve İşletmecilik A.Ş., which also serves in the same factory, started to organise in our union. In a very short time, the majority of Euroserve workers became members of our union. The employer's first response to these efforts was to exile four of our member workers to other workplaces. Our fellow workers who refused to accept this exile were dismissed. In all departments, the pressure on our fellow workers by supervisors and managers intensified. They were told by their supervisors and managers: "You cannot join the union despite the administration. If you don't want to lose your job, resign from the union immediately". Arbitrary overtime practices increased...We organised an action in the factory for half an hour against the oppression. Afterwards, when there was no response to our call for a meeting at both company headquarters. As a union, we organised a press statement in front of the factory, supported by our fellow workers from inside.... We demand equal pay for equal work, a raise in salaries to a level that can be lived humanely, the reinstatement of our fellow workers who were dismissed on the grounds of unionisation, and a positive response to our call for collective bargaining with employers according to national, international and ILO norms. And we are determined to continue our legal, democratic and legitimate struggle to the end until we obtain these rights."