Union members and supporters held a global DHL Families’ Day to back the families of workers at logistics giant DHL in Turkey who have faced dismissal and aggression by the company. Key events were held in London and Istanbul, with support actions arou …

Walton Pantland

Union members and supporters held a global DHL Families’ Day to back the families of workers at logistics giant DHL in Turkey who have faced dismissal and aggression by the company.

Key events were held in London and Istanbul, with support actions around the world.

In the video above, you can see the demonstration outside the German embassy in London. The German government is a major shareholder in Deutsche Post-DHL so unions and sympathisers visited German embassies in their countries, and delivered letters to DHL local management expressing their concern at the treatment of the company’s workers in Turkey.

In Istanbul three global union federations, UNI Global Union, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and IndustriALL joined Turkish unions, including Tumtis – whose members have faced unlawful and aggressive behaviour from local management – at a Forum on Union Rights and Organising in Istanbul to call for more legal protections and respect for workers employed by multinationals. The Forum highlighted how Deutsche Post-DHL is violating international laws and its own corporate social responsibility standards in Turkey.

For more details about the DHL Families’ Day please go: here or here on Facebook and the short film here.

DHL in Turkey has routinely undermined the free choice of employees to join a union, including by dismissing 30 workers. The Turkish Courts have found in favour of all the workers who have appealed against dismissal and in four cases said that the sackings were linked directly to union activity.

UNI Global Union general secretary Philip Jennings commented: “The Turkish justice system has spoken. DHL in Turkey has acted improperly by dismissing workers because they wanted to form a union. DHL management is on record as saying it would abide by the Turkish Court decisions. We call on DHL management to honour that promise, reinstate the workers and stop union busting activities.”

ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton stated: “The ITF and the other global unions have come together in solidarity with all the workers in the global supply chain who find themselves in an increasingly vulnerable situation. We will join them on the picket lines in protest at these dismissals. The DHL workers who have been unfairly dismissed have our full support and that is why we have organised the DHL Families’ Day global day of action.”

The Forum in Turkey also examined how DHL management has been actively supporting a ‘yellow’ (false, company-led) union in opposition to the legitimate choice of workers. The Forum calls for DHL and other multinationals engaged in similar behaviour to be held accountable by advocating improving and enforcing workers’ rights in Turkey. UNI, the ITF and IndustriaALL as well as the other global union federations such as the International Union of Food Workers (IUF) are aiming to reach a new level of cooperation to protect workers in Turkey and elsewhere.


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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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