Turkey: Steel producer Posco fired 80 workers to prevent their attempts to unionize, says IndustriALL; co' denies allegations

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Posco to respond to allegations that 80 workers were fired at its steel plant in Kocaeli for joining IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Birleşik Metal-İş. The company's response is provided below.

IndustriALL issued a rejoinder asking Posco for further information to support their statement. We invited Posco to respond, they have not yet responded.

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NGO rejoinder
10 January 2018

IndustriALL issues rejoinder asking Posco for further information to support their statement

Author: IndustriALL

IndustriALL is perplexed by Posco’s claims in response to our reporting on Posco’s violations of Turkish and Korean labor law and Turkish and Korean workers’ fundamental rights. 

Posco claims that the Turkish Ministry of Labor “concluded that it was righteous to dismiss workers who harmed the company’s operation and work peace by persuading other workers to join the illegal actions such as stopping work, slow down etc.”  [...]

We call on Posco to provide documentation from the Turkish Ministry of Labour supporting the company’s claims...

We again demand that Posco live up to its claims to be a responsible employer by respecting Turkey’s labor laws and Turkish workers’ fundamental rights. At its operations in Korea, we again demand that Posco regularize the employment status of precarious workers, stop threatening employees to coerce them into leaving the union, recognize and conclude a collective agreement with the newest organized chapter of the Posco subcontracted workers local, and reinstate the workers dismissed during the unionization. 

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Company response
5 January 2018

Response by Posco

Author: Posco

...The Labor Ministry of Turkey also visited POSCO ASSAN TST and investigated the case by meeting the employees who were involved. 

The Ministry concluded that it was righteous to dismiss workers who harmed the company’s operation and work peace by persuading other workers to join the illegal actions such as stopping work, slow down etc. 

The dismissals of employees are not based on union reasons. In fact, it is not technically possible for company to know which employees are unionists. The reasons for the dismissals are violation of the discipline of the workplace with threats and pressures towards our employees. 

We already secured the evidences and testimonies about such illegal activities like threats, prosecution of Kocaeli/Turkey District Attorney’s investigation is now opened...

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Article
6 December 2017

Global solidarity grows as Posco Assan fires 80 union members in Turkey

Author: IndustriALL

Posco, the world’s fifth-largest steel producer, continues to resist attempts by its Turkish workforce to unionize, firing workers joining IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Birleşik Metal-İş. A total of 80 union members have now been fired, with the latest dismissals coming after the union applied to the Minstry of Labour for a majority certificate that would give them the legal right to represent the 420 workers.

Company managers are attempting to intimidate workers by telling workers on the factory floor they will never accept or meet with the union...

In a solidarity letter sent to Birleşik Metal-İş, Kim, Ho-Gyu, president of the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) [...] urged the workers in Turkey not to give up the fight...

The KMWU is fighting a long and hard battle for recognition at the company. Because of the “no union” policy, they have only been able to organize some precarious workers, and no direct employees. At Posco’s plants in Korea, precarious subcontractors form the majority of the workforce, despite a court ruling that this subcontracting is illegal, and that the workers should be regularized...

In Turkey, members of Birleşik demonstrated outside the factory, as well as outside Kibar Holding, a Turkish joint venture partner with Posco. The union also held a demonstration outside the Korean consulate, demanding that the company respect workers’ rights.

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