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ITGLWF raises objection to unlawful retrenchment
Jun '08
The International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation (ITGLWF) recently asked Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayiip Erdogan, to 'rein in' local tannery and leather manufacturer, Desa Deri, for dismissing 40 employees who joined a union.

ITGLWF's General Secretary in Brussels, Neil Kearny, has drawn attention to Turkey's 'unlawful' dismissal of union members and pointed to the political clout wielded by Turkish employers who can pull the levers of power at high levels.

ITGLWF claims to have asked company buyers to cancel or suspend orders with Desa Deri until their internal examination is completed.

Union membership in Turkey is not an automatic right and collectivism in any form is deemed to undermine state sovereignty. Most Turkish unions exist as employment agencies that channel workers to specific sectors like textiles, leather or garment trades. Turkey does not yet enshrine freedom of assembly in laws.

Unions have no collective bargaining rights for wages. Although trade unions are frequently permitted to rally and protest peacefully, most stop short of an all out strike. Security forces moved into Desa Deri for law breaking, not union busting. The company is bound by local laws, which may not always conform to standards set by international bodies like the ITGLWF.

Desa Deri is a poor choice for the ITGLWF to throw light on Turkish poor labour practices. The firm is an award-winning exporter, a model of efficiency and environmental awareness, who fully insures their 1,300 workers.

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