Socialist Worker

Demonstrate to support Turkey’s Tekel workers

Issue No. 2187

Tekel demonstration in Ankara

Tekel demonstration in Ankara

The Turkish TUC has called a national day of action in support of the ongoing Tekel workers’ action in the capital, Ankara.

The dispute began in mid December when the government announced the closure of 12 factories and their sale to British American Tobacco.

The factories were part of the state owned Tekel tobacco and alcohol monopoly and the workers were told that they would be redeployed on temporary contracts to other parts of the public sector with reduced employment rights and pay cuts of up to 40 percent.

Up to 12,000 Tekel workers in the Tek-Gida Is union rushed to the capital, Ankara, from across the country and occupied a central park.

Riot police viciously attacked the protest, but the workers refused to give in. They relocated to the headquarters of Turk-Is, the Turkish TUC. Some set up outside the offices of the governing party. Several went on hunger strike.

Their continued protest was an inspiration to many activists in Turkey as recent labour movement protests have been driven off the streets after attacks by riot police or fascist gangs.

Worried by growing support for the workers the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said he will find a formula to resolve the dispute by Monday.

The workers are demanding to be redeployed in secure jobs at similar rates of pay.

Demonstrate in support of the Tekel workers outside the Turkish embassy in London at 1pm on Friday 5 February

Turkish Embassy, 43 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PA (Hyde Park Corner tube)

Send messages of solidarity to the workers' union in Turkey.

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Article information

Mon 1 Feb 2010, 16:37 GMT
Issue No. 2187
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