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Opening Event in UID-DER Sefaköy Branch

The seventh term of UID-DER activities was started by an opening event in UID-DER’s Sefaköy Branch (Istanbul) on 7 October. Among so many workers from various industries present in the event, there were DHL cargo workers who have been on unofficial strike and also Iranian socialist immigrant workers among us.

In his speech the chairman of UID-DER, Bayram Yılmaz, said: “My brothers/sisters, I tell you what, this picture makes me feel proud. Our association was founded for achieving the unity of workers and strengthening their solidarity. One of our aims was to demonstrate the power of workers. And all together we were successful in doing that. Our association is growing rapidly with your support. Every day hundreds of new workers learn about UID-DER. Only in the campaign for stopping the attempt to abolish the redundancy pay we were able to reach more than 250.000 workers and explained to them the reality. These were all accomplished thanks to UID-DER members and supporters who worked hard. I thank you all here. You should know that your labour is not for nothing! We have to work harder to grow further and stand up against bosses more strongly. There is no other way!”

After the speech, which was received with enthusiastic applaud, messages of solidarity from various trade-unions were read out. In their messages, Kenan Öztürk (Chairman of TÜMTİS [Motor Vehicle Transport Workers’ Union]), Atilay Ayçin (Chairman of Hava-İş [Civil Aviation Workers’ Union]), Reşat Tüysüz (Chairman of İstanbul Branch of Petrol-İş [Petrol, Chemistry, Tyre Workers’ Union]) wished UID-DER success with its new term of activities.

UID-DER’s activities and struggle were presented in a video presentation along with speeches of presenters. Among the scenes those from 2012 May Day demonstration caused a great enthusiasm among the audience.

At the end of the programme the new campaign of UID-DER (“Stop Workplace “Accidents”! Stop Workers Dying of Workplace “Accidents”!”) to be launched soon was announced. Around 2.250.000 workers across the world die of work “accidents” and occupational diseases every year. To stop this we shall say “Let workers live!” against bosses who seek to escape from the cost of safety precautions and the government that overlook the bosses.

After the event, workers expressed their happiness for being there and confidence in UID-DER. They said they believed that UID-DER would keep on its success in the new term and that they would be willing to take part in the new term activities. Those workers who joined an UID-DER activity for the first time were especially very excited and said it would not be the last. They also said they wanted to join the new UID-DER campaign to stop workers dying of work “accidents”.

One of the interesting points made by our guests was that they were amazed by the performance of UID-DER Music Band especially when they learned that the members of the band were not professional musicians but fellow workers sweating day and night in factories and other workplaces like themselves. In their performance the band did not forget to pay tribute to recently died great folk poet and musician Neşet Ertaş, who throughout whole his life voiced the sufferings of the poor and toiling people of Anatolia. He was commemorated by performing his folk songs.

Solidarity messages:

Kenan Öztürk, Chairman of TÜMTİS (Motor Vehicle Transport Workers’ Union): “My dear brothers/sisters in UID-DER. Because of intense work I am not able to be together with you and sending this message to you from outside the city to salute you. I believe your new premises will help working class struggle at a time when offensives against workers and toilers are intensified, when preparations for war against neighbour peoples are made, when organising is increasingly made difficult by strike bans and the new bill of collective bargaining in preparation, and thresholds for organising and other restrictions. We have always found UID-DER with us whenever we are in struggle. I salute you all in the hope that we will keep on fighting together against the attacks of capital. ”

Atilay Ayçin, Chairman of Hava-İş (Civil Aviation Workers’ Union): “My dear brothers/sisters in UID-DER. We are passing through hard times when attacks against the working class are intensified. It is becoming increasingly important to strengthen the collaboration between trade-union and political organisations of our class. We congratulate you for your solidarity with both national and international workers’ organisations. We thank you for that you have not left us alone during our unofficial strike that has been going on for 130 days now. I wish UID-DER success with its whole work and struggle.”

Reşat Tüysüz, Chairman of İstanbul Branch No.1 Petrol-İş (Petrol, Chemistry, Tyre Workers’ Union): “Dear friends, workers; we are passing through a period when wars drums are beaten in our country and neighbour toiling peoples are provoked to cut one another’s throat. Warmongers seek to shed blood for imperialist interests. The connection between the fact that Syria and Turkey are brought to the brink of war and that workers sweat and die in factories, shipyards, manufactures for the cost effectiveness of the bosses is now more visible. The attacks of bosses and their government against the working class and imperialist’s calculations for war serve the same goal. It is only the working class and wide toiling layers that can break this calculation. (…) I wish you success with your event which I believe will help class solidarity, unity of workers and fraternity of peoples and I extend my feelings of solidarity.”

9 October 2012