Turkey: End the lockout at GEA
62 workers, all members of the Turkish metal union, Birlesik Metal-IS, have been locked-out since July at a Turkish subsidiary of German-owned GEA Group located in Gebze, Turkey. The company, which professes to respect fundamental labour rights and freedom of association and has an International Framework Agreement with the International Metalworkers’ Federation, is claiming that workers took illegal strike action during 10:00-10:15; 12:00-12:30; and 15:00-15:15, which are also designated times for tea breaks and lunch. A collective bargaining agreement, hard won by workers three years ago, will be up for renegotiation on December 31. An expert’s report petitioned by GEA found there was no strike action taken. A separate investigation petitioned by Birlesik Metal found that workers were denied access to the workplace. In late November the Gebze court ruled that four workers dismissed on May 31 must be reinstated, a clear indication that the Turkish courts have found GEA to be acting unlawfully. There is a heavy police presence inside of the company yet GEA continues to refuse to meet with Birlesik Metal. The IMF, ITUC, IUF, ITF, ICEM and its global partners in partnership with LabourStart are calling on GEA to immediately meet with the union, end the lockout and reinstate all of the workers.