UNI calls on Deichmann to stop ‘shameful’ union-busting in Türkiye

02.05.24

Commerce

UNI calls on Deichmann to stop ‘shameful’ union-busting in Türkiye

UNI Global Union is calling on German shoe retailer, Deichmann, to stop union busting at its stores in Türkiye and allow workers to bargain for a collective agreement.

Despite a vicious anti-union campaign by the company that included worker dismissals, threats and punishments, more than 40 per cent of employees organized with UNI affiliate Tez Koop-Is, exceeding Türkiye’s legal threshold to begin bargaining at Deichmann stores.

However, local management has objected to the union’s certification at the country’s labour court and blocked the entire collective bargaining procedure until the final decision of the court, which may in total take three to five years including potential appeals.  

Deichmann has no legal basis to challenge the union’s certification, but as observed by the International Labour Organization, many companies in the country are using this tactic to undermine unions so that by the time they win the right to bargain in the courts, they have lost support from members.         

As well as infringing fundamental ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on the right to organize and bargain collectively, the company could be held to account by the new German due diligence law for its violations of workers’ rights.

“We are steadfast in solidarity with Deichmann workers in Türkiye and our affiliate Tez Koop-Is,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of UNI Commerce. “We call on global management of Deichmann to intervene at their Turkish subsidiary to end these shameful violations of the most basic of labour rights. Workers must be allowed to join a union without fear and negotiate a collective agreement.”

Last month, Tez Koop-Is organized a protest in front of the Deichmann headquarters in Istanbul to demand the company stops union busting and negotiates with the union.

Speaking at the demonstration, Ozcan Kopal, the President of Istanbul Branch 1 of Tez Koop-Is said: “It is our first but not the last action. We will keep fighting until the objection is withdrawn. We will not hesitate to take actions at all shopping malls, at all Deichmann stores.”

German affiliate, ver.di, also sent a solidarity message of support to Deichmann workers and promised to reach out to German management to raise the labour violations at Deichmann’s Turkish subsidiary: 

“We call on Deichmann to respect workers’ rights, as well as trade union rights, and to negotiate a collective agreement with your union for you. Deichmann must accept your union’s certificate and stop the anti-union action…We stand behind you in solidarity!”

 

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