You are here

Appeal for Solidarity from Akkardan Workers

For the Attention of the Press and Public

We, the workers of Akkardan Company, were laid off from our jobs on January 26, 2010. However, we did not end up going home and instead we started to fight back in front of the factory for our children’s future. We would like to inform you briefly about the development of our resistance.

With the economic crisis being used as an excuse, a practice named “short-time working allowance” had been put into effect in our factory since February of 2009. We consented to this with the orientation of our trade-union Birleşik Metal-İş (United Metal Workers Union), on the condition that no one of us would lose their jobs. With this “crisis” excuse, short-time working was sustained for two terms in a year. When it was about to terminate in February of 2010, we were given a one month paid leave. But the employer did not keep the promises. At the end of February, 109 workers (97 of which from production and the other 12 from the administrative division) were laid off.

The employer, who gave us the one month paid vacation, sent us notifications regarding our layoff through the notary on the first day of our leave. The intention with this was to cut the connection among us and also between us and fellow workers who were still working in the factory. The boss thought he could prevent a resistance by this way. However, we submitted neither to this fiddle nor to the boss’s other assaults and tricks. We decided to fight back to defend our jobs, which is our most natural right. After coming together immediately, we formed a committee and started the resistance in front of the factory.

We were aware of the fact that these attacks were not, and will not, limited to our workplace. And indeed, just near us, 220 Isuzu workers, who were Birleşik Metal-İş members too, had been fired before our layoff. Unfortunately, Isuzu workers were caught unprepared for their boss’s attack. Although they were unionized too, they could not give any response to this assault because of the lack of a rank-and-file shop floor organization.

Today, we, the workers, are facing an all-round attack: bosses try to put the burden of the crisis, which is caused by their system, upon the workers. Yet, bosses made us sweat day and night saying “we are a family”, “we are in the same ship”. They swelled their profits on our back. And now they are kicking us out from the ship. By firing us, the bosses are pushing us to joblessness and our families to starvation and poverty.

What is bitter for us, the fighting workers, is our unions’ cowardly attitude towards those attacks. Unions neither give a lead to the struggle of the workers nor fully own the resistances that outbreak outside their control. Union bosses have managed to stop our unions being a working class organization for struggle. They are turning our unions into conciliationist, collaborationist organizations. Bosses fire the workers and trade union officials make up excuses for these attacks. Let alone organizing a struggle against layoffs, they even fetter the workers who form their rank-and-file organizations and start fighting back on their own. But enough is enough! We don’t want to hear things that the bosses would like to hear from our trade unions’ officials any longer.

Bosses never overpaid us during the years of high profits. Now, they have no right to put their so-called loss on our shoulders. The employer, who had purchased the Akkardan Factory from Sabanci Holding in 2003, bought also Bossa Factory in 2008 with the money he earned on our back. And now, he says unblushingly that “there is crisis” and pushes us to joblessness and hunger.

The bosses who profit from “short term working allowances” are now firing us. They just want to employ new workers for lower salaries. In order to impose lower salaries, insecure work and intensive overtime, they use the threat of joblessness as a stick.

Mass layoffs continue. The bosses’ attack aims also to destroy our union organization in our workplaces. We must get prepared for struggle before we are laid off. We need to act as one body against bosses while they are striving hard to turn the crisis into an opportunity. We must stand up and fight back determinedly and confidently against these attacks. We are calling all unions on duty. It is time to unite. It is time to join hands. It is time to organize the working class solidarity. This is the only way that we could reject the bill for the crisis.

As Akkardan workers, we are maintaining our resistance determinedly like on it is first day. Our union, Birleşik Metal-İş, has had several negotiations with the employer so far. However, we did not reach a solution yet. At this point, we, as resisting workers, made our requests known to our union and urged them to carry on the negotiations with the employer within this framework. The boss has not agreed to our requests yet. However, until our requests are accepted, we will be determined to keep up the resistance. We, the Akkardan workers, look forward to your active support for our resistance which keeps going on this basis.

Long Live the Akkardan Resistance!

Long Live Working Class Solidarity!

4 April 2010