موقع اممي ثوري ثقافي مناهض للامبريالية ومناصر لقضايا الشعوب حول العالم.

The resistance in Flormar continues and solidarity grows

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İssued by Yves Rocher workers.
Despite all the pressure and harsh weather conditions, the women keep up their resistance.
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The resistance in Flormar continues and solidarity grows
In May, Flormar (Koşan Cosmetics) operating in the Gebze Organized Industrial Zone dismissed 120 – mostly women– workers on the grounds of joining the membership of a workers’ union! This number reached 132 when 12 more were fired for having supported the workers on resistance. Their response to this attack was to step up the resistance. Since the 15th of May 2018 workers have continued their stake out in front of the factory with dances, slogans and resolution, as well as national and international solidarity.

 

Groupe Rocher, controlling 51% of Koşan Cosmetics’ shares, prides itself in caring about gender equality and even hands out awards in this regard. Yet the very same company first attempted to brush off the dismissal of workers (80% of whom were women) for unionizing saying “this doesn’t concern our company”, and later made a statement reaffirming their full trust in Koşan Cosmetics – that is, they became a part of this injustice by backing up the firm whose majority shareholder they are.

 

Women workers in Flormar say that their wages are low and they do not receive equal pay for equal and equivalent work despite having been employed there for many long years. They also mention being subjected to serious forms of workplace violence and mobbing, including verbal abuse, insults and belittlement, as well as the lack of adequate health and safety measures for women workers. When, however, they decided to exercise their legal right to unionize for the improvement of these conditions, becoming members of the Petrol-İş Sendikası union, they ended up discharged.

 

Unionization is a clear right defined by both national and international conventions. Article 51 of the Constitution, Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Trade Unions Act No. 6356 Article 31, ILO Convention 87 and Article 5a of the European Social Charter explicitly state the right to unionize. It is therefore clear that Koşan Cosmetics is committing a crime by violating this right.

 

During this ongoing resistance in front of the factory, the factory management first fenced the facility with barbed wires, then heightened the walls, and finally barred the workers’ resting areas with metal plates in order to cut off the solidarity between workers still in the factory and those on resistance. On the 84th day of the resistance the police arrived on call of the factory management, demanding the workers to lower their banner and then move to the other side of the road.

 

On the 106th day, the workers on resistance were banned from using a loudspeaker upon orders of the governor; and most recently on the 197th day, the Gebze District Governor issued an injunction against lighting fires for heating purposes, putting up tents and playing music over a loudspeaker in the resistance site. We consider this employer and state-based violence against women workers dismissed for having unionized a continuation of the workplace violence they suffered. As is known, with the suggestion of international trade unions ILO has taken gender-based violence in the workplace onto its agenda and is discussing a legally binding agreement beyond its recommendation on the matter.

 

Moreover, by preparing a pledge titled “Violence Against Women: Not in my union, not in my workplace” and submitting it to the approval of its member unions, IndustriALL, which is the global organization Petrol-İş belongs to, has promised to organize activities on this issue in workplaces and trade unions until this violence is eliminated altogether. Some of its member trade unions in Turkey, including Petrol-İş where the workers in question are organizing, have signed onto this pledge. In these days when violence against women is part of the discussion in the international union movement and steps towards its solution are increasingly global, it is crucial that the violence perpetrated against women on resistance in Flormar be called out and condemned.

 

Despite all of these pressures and harsh weather conditions, women keep up their resistance.

 

The first legal victory also came in October 2018, with one worker winning a case for reinstatement, as the union continues waging its legal battle against the discharges.

 

Following the dismissal of these mostly women workers, women and LGBTI+ organizations in Turkey made a call to boycott Flormar and Yves Rocher. While visits to the resistance site continue, we seek to enhance our women’s solidarity with the workers of Flormar as the group called “Women Are Stronger Together”, which includes representatives of women’s branches and bodies in various public workers’ and trade unions. We share with you our press dossier and previous statement signed by a variety of organizations so as to create a clearer understanding of the process. As may be seen in the official documents added here, the wrongful attitude espoused by the firm is also underlined in the reports of relevant official institutions.

 

Dear friends, our request is that you spread the voice of Flormar workers on resistance, render visible and condemn the violence and injustice perpetrated against women not only at the workplace but also while attempting to unionize and on resistance, and strengthen the boycott against Flormar and Yves Rocher.

 

We call upon you to put pressure on Groupe Rocher in whichever country you may be and expose its hypocritically misogynist policies in order to act against this unjust and unlawful situation in Turkey, therefore stepping up the international solidarity with women workers who have been on resistance for over 200 days.

 

Long Live International Solidarity, Long Live Women’s Solidarity.
Flormar Workers’ Resistance Shall Prevail.
WOMEN ARE STRONGER TOGETHER
(KADINLAR BİRLİKTE GÜÇLÜ)
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