Members of the Demiryol-İş and TÜMTİS, affiliated with Türk-İş, who are taking action against the omnibus bill (which packages together several legislative measures in one) targeting severance pay and retirement rights in Adana, stated that they would fight for their severance payments and added “We are all workers and all workers’ interests are the same. The three confederations must act together.”
In Adana, the first action was carried out by workers from Demiryol-İş, working in Adana Train Station, with a protest of applause during shift change. Mehmet Avşar, one of the workers leaving the workplace, said: “This [law] should be withdrawn. Workers working condition should be eased”.
Expressing that the workers should not be further distressed during the already troubled times of pandemic and disaster, Avşar added: “People are already in trouble. Especially during the pandemic, it is a pity, a sin for these people during this period of disaster.
“And now there is this law. Most of the time, we are only made aware of changes after they have been approved. It is bad for working people like us, that this country is being governed with decrees and omnibus laws.”
Workers from TÜMTİS attended the demonstrations in large numbers. After work, protests with applause were held in Adana Taşımacılık and Çukurova Kargo.
TÜMTİS Adana branch president Halil Çekin said that the transfer of the severance pay to the fund was postponed as a result of the actions and added “If we do not go out on the streets and make our voices heard, they will descend on us.
“Workers who are members of TÜMTİS have led the way and have shown others how to get their rights with strikes and marches. Now, we will continue our actions in line with the recent decision taken”.
Mehmet Cide, one of the transport workers, warned that if the severance pay is taken from them, they will not have anything left and added: “The workers are already in a difficult situation, they will be further victimised.
“Those who have been working for 15-20 years might say ‘Let me take my severance pay so that I can do something with that money’. For example, if I worked for 20 years, I would get 100,000 lira (£9,400/$12,383) in compensation, I would buy a house. In this way, working with insurance becomes pointless”.
Calling for all workers to be united against these laws, Cide said: “We are all the same. We are all workers. Türk-İş, Hak-İş, DİSK ... They should all be united. Workers need to go out and give out this united image”.
Worker Sedat Çelik stated that the abolition of severance pay means erasing the worker's 20-30 years of labour in an instant.
“Unions are important. Unions need to protect their workers,” he said.
TÜMTİS branch manager Şeyhmuz Çelik stated that we should leave the closed halls and be on the streets instead. Stating that unions should respond to these laws, Çelik said: “If this law is not responded to, there will be no unions after two years. It requires unity.
“We need to be in the town squares, the concourses, in the fields to be heard. For this, all unions must be united. If needs be we need to move heaven and earth”.
Another TÜMTİS Manager and Workplace Representative, Musa Boz, stated that their actions would continue and said: “They brought it back to the agenda. We will continue this struggle across Turkey.”