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Dockers in Turkey need our support

news 03 May 2024

Dockers working at the Borusan Port near Bursa in Turkey have been victimised by port owner Borusan Logistics for joining the union of their choice.

Over 70% of the dock workers joined the ITF-affiliated union Liman-İş when the union started organising there in March.

Borusan Port management responded by firing six dockers because they had joined the union.

In response the union carried out a four-day protest at the port, closing it down.

Despite the employer calling in police teams to the port in an attempt to intimidate the strikers, they did not back down.

As a result of the negotiations that followed, an agreement was reached that the six dismissed workers would be reemployed and that the company would no longer block union organising.

However, despite reinstating the sacked dockers the company reneged on their promise and continue to oppose the union.

Marketing itself as ‘the port that makes a difference and creates value’ Borusan Port is a subsidiary of Borusan Group which prides itself on its contribution to cultural and the arts in Turkey, including having its own philharmonic orchestra.

The ITF calls on Borusan Port management to honour its promise to stop opposing Liman-İş. This is the union that the dockers have overwhelmingly chosen to join, and we would urge you to respect that democratic right. 

Fatih Özpinar, General Secretary of Liman-İş said: “We expect the support of all ITF affiliated unions on this issue. ITF is a puzzle, and we are all pieces of this puzzle. Together we have meaning."

ITF President and Chair of the ITF’s Dockers’ Section Paddy Crumlin said: “Here is another company that attempts to sell itself on its values, and yet those values do not apparently include the basic rights afforded to workers under international labour law of the rights to organise and to bargain collectively.

“Our message to Borusan management is clear: recognise the union that the workers have chosen or understand the hard way what international trade unionism looks like.”

Please show solidarity to the union by signing our petition to Erkan Kafadar, CEO of Borusan Group