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Our Struggle Will Continue in Hacettepe

A group of workers from Hacettepe University Hospital in Ankara

Dear class brothers and sisters,

We are a group of workers that have been working for a subcontracting company in Hacettepe University Hospital for a long time. Outsourcing is one of the most serious problems we face not only in Turkey but all around the world. Precarious work, long working day, low wages, work accidents and occupational diseases which increase due to spreading of outsourcing while the outsourced workers like us are to shoulder the burden that makes our lives unbearable.

This has been exactly the case in our Hospital. We were not allowed to enjoy annual leave and also not paid on public holidays in the early years of outsourcing. Those who suffered from work accidents and became unable to work were being dismissed without any compensation. Most of us were not aware of our rights.

Even those workers who are more conscious were silent due to the fear of being fired. We were forced to carry out the main part of the work even though it required specialisation. We have been employed under these circumstances for years. Being well aware of the fact that we were unorganised, the company began to pay our wages piece by piece as the hospital management turned a blind eye. We have never been paid regularly for 4 years. We finally realised that we have to put an end to these attacks of bosses. We organised an action and gathered in front of the hospital to protest the delay in payment.

After two days of action they paid us and never delayed the pay again. It was an important success and all workers realised how important was to be organised and united. We went on to keep and develop our organisation. 

The problem of irregular of payment was solved but we were still facing many problems. By definition, we were supposed to do only certain side jobs, as outsourced workers in the workplace, but we were forced to do the main part of the work. Inequality in pay between us and regular workers has gone rampant and our salaries were cut down. Those workers who raised their voices against these injustices faced transfers to other departments. A vanguard fellow worker was fired but thanks to our struggle they had to reinstate him.

One of the issues in our struggle was work accidents. We supported UİD-DER’s “Work Accidents are not Destiny, Stop Workers Dying of Work Accidents!” campaign and forced our bosses to take necessary precautions. They were annoyed and tried to prevent us from getting organised. They drew up new draft contracts for the new term, which was an attempt to officialise the injustices and irregularities that they have already been doing. We again responded with action. The hospital management was obliged to cancel the new draft contracts. But 5 days later the solicitor of the outsourcing company called us, 50 workers, and informed that we were dismissed. On the following day we gathered together and held a meeting to discuss what we were going to do. We decided to resist. Despite all obstacles and attacks against us we put up a tent in front of the hospital as a tradition of resistance. The outsourcing company and the hospital management tried to prevent those still working fellows from giving us their support. But we kept on our fight and in the 32nd day of our resistance we succeeded to be reinstated as regular workers.

They offered us to work as regular workers of the hospital not because they cared for us. Our determined action forced the management to make such a decision and reinstate us. From now on we will keep on struggling against the university management. We know that no matter we are outsourced or permanent workers, the only way to gain and protect rights is the organised struggle of workers.

United workers will not be defeated!

14 January 2014

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