Solidarity Action by Tumtis for Iranian and Swaziland Workers

On 11th October Turkish union TUMTIS (Motor Vehicle Workers’ Union) organized a solidarity action together with the striking DHL workers as part of the International Week of Action declared by ITF to support the workers and union activists who have been imprisoned in Iran and Swaziland. The demonstration took place in front of one of the DHL warehouses in Esenyurt, Istanbul.

UPS cargo workers who are members of TÜMTİS, the striking Turkish Airlines workers who are members of Hava-İs (Civil Aviation Workers’ Union) and dismissed DHL workers joined the action. UID-DER was also there to show its solidarity. The workers who rallied in front of the DHL warehouse protested DHL management. They gave a message of unity to the workers by calling out slogans such as: “The Union Will Get in DHL, There is No Other Way!”, “Turkish Airlines Workers Are Not Alone!”, “Long Live Class Solidarity!”, “Unionizing Is Our Right, We’ll Get It Whatever It Costs!”

DHL workers carried placards in English which read “FREE REZA SHAHABİ!”, “BROTHERS & SISTERS IN TEHRAN ARE NOT ALONE!”, “SOLIDARITY WITH STAWU!” They called for an end to repression of Iranian and Swaziland workers.

Ersin Turkmen, chairman of the Istanbul branch of TÜMTİS, stated that “This year is fifteenth anniversary of the international week of action which is organized by ITF, our union is also an affiliate of. For fifteen years, more than 1 million ITF members in five continents have been taking to the streets for safe and decent jobs, against hardships in working conditions and inadequate regulations. Our twenty fellow workers were fired just for getting unionized, which is supposed to be a basic constitutional right in Turkey. Also freedom to organize is not supposed to be reason for repression at work and being fired. Our fired colleagues have been picketing for 119 days and demanding their rights. And Mansour Osanloo, chairman of Vahed, a union of bus drivers in Iran was released from jail after four years of imprisonment. Once again in Iran, Reza Shabi, executive of Vahed trade-union, was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment and he has been behind bars since August. In Swaziland, a south African country, activists of Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers’ Union were also detained for joining protests and then released on bail. Once again it shows that the hardships experienced by workers across the world are not local but global problems. But it is not impossible to overcome these problems. Victory will be gained through international solidarity and unity despite all hardships.”

Turkmen’s statement ended in message of solidarity and unity: “We wholeheartedly express our solidarity message together with the striking DHL workers to brothers/sisters across the world and in particular to those in Iran and Swaziland. We will win by getting united and fighting! International solidarity and unity will be victorious!”

Turkmen’s speech was accompanied by slogans chanted by workers: “Long Live Our Organized Struggle!”, “Long Live International Solidarity!”

17 October 2012