Workers of TEKEL, former monopoly holder for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products, have been protesting against the loss of personal employers rights in the course of privatization in Ankara for almost 2 weeks now. Last Friday, day 11 of the workers' resistance, they were supported by workers affiliated with the 3 major union confederations in Turkey, namley the Turkey Worker Syndicates Confederation (Türk-İş), the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Employees (KESK).
The workers gathered in front of the buildig of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara in the early evening hours on Friday (25 December).
"We object; our protests will continue"
Türk-İş recently decided for permanent protest actions and stopped working for the duration of 1 hour on Friday on principle. Members of DİSK and KESK supported the protest by laying down work for 1 hour themselves.
In the morning of the same day, public servants from the Çankaya (Ankara) Municipality gathered in front of the Türk-İş building, where the TEKEL resistance is presently centred. The public servants are members of the Municipal and Local Authority Trade Union (Tüm Bel-Sen), which is affiliated with KESK, Genel-İş and Sosyal-İş trade unions.
In the course of the protest action, the confederations warned AKP once more by shouting slogans like "General strike means general resistance", "Long live class solidarity", "Resisting workers will win" and "We are all TEKEL workers".
Türk-İş President Mustafa Kumlu criticized, "We will carry on with our protest every Friday. We object unemployment caused by privatization and closing down businesses. We object remaining inconsiderate towards the 12-days struggle of the TEKEL workers. We object against the 4/C status which deprives workers of their right to get organized in labour unions and to seniority compensation. We object lay-offs because for the reason of getting organized in unions".
Kumlu pointed out, "Our protest actions pursue the aim of making our voices heard to the government and to convey the people's requests. Our protest will continue as long as the government's inconsideration contiunes".
TMMOB calls for strike and solidarity
Futher support was expressed by members of chambers belonging to the Turkey Union of Chambers of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), who visited the TEKEL workers on Friday.
Spokesman Kahraman Yapıcı said:
"The Turkish working class follows the 11-days resistance up as a new spark of hope. Let us turn the resistance of the TEKEL workers into a joint resistance of the working class by starting with stopping work for 1 hour today. Let us extend the TEKEL workers's resistance, which creates hope among friends and fear among enemies and let us shake the chairs of the representatives of the capital who are the enemies of the workers".
Yapıcı called for "General resistance, general strike".
Community centres catered workers with soup
The Ankara Community Centre provided soup for the workers at 5.30 am. Representatives of the Community Centres furthermore visited the workers on 26 December to show their support.
TEKEL workers from all over Turkey came to Ankara and gathered in front of the Türk-İş building to join the resistance. The protest actions for employers personal rights are being contiued despite the intervention by the police with tear gas and water cannons. (BÇ/VK)
Source: sendika.org and Atılım newspaper.