Evrensel online journal has published the findings in the report of the Istanbul Labor Union Branches Platform researching the events in workplaces in various sectors in Istanbul during the coronavirus epidemic. In the report it is noted that there were some four million workers registered in the city, but the number unionized among the total number of workers was around 350,000.

“The report stressed that the maximum measures and necessary precautions had been taken in unionized and organized workplaces, but things were proceeding in an uncontrolled manner at ununionized workplaces.” said on Evrensel.

“Workers are tested Coronavirus positive in many factories”

The report indicated that workers were testing coronavirus positive in many factories. For the health of millions of workers was under threat, the following demands were reiterated: “All workers should be entitled to paid leave apart from at workplaces that must be operated. The implementation by the ministry that has usurped collective agreement and trade union rights, these having been suspended, should be rescinded.”

The following findings were included in the Istanbul Labor Union Branches Platform report (Translated by Tim Drayton):

Petrol, Chemical, Tyre, Plastic and Pharmaceutical Industry

Some 150,000 workers are employed in total in this sector in Istanbul and there are around 5,000 unionized workers. Many companies that produce for the automotive supply industry have come to a halt during the epidemic. Stoppages are also witnessed in the sector due to a lack of foreign-sourced raw materials. Placing staff on unpaid leave and compulsory annual leave is becoming fairly widespread in the sector. Workers employed on a sub-contracted basis at plants are being made redundant.

Harbors, Shipyards and Warehouses

Some 80,000 workers are employed in total in this sector in Istanbul and 7,000 of them are unionized. Cases of coronavirus are appearing, especially at the Tuzla shipyards and Ambarlı harbour. No case has yet been encountered at unionized workplaces in this sector. As to ununionized workplaces, anti-virus precautions are most inadequate. The placing of staff on compulsory annual leave is happening at workplaces at the Ambarlı harbour. Furloughing staff is becoming prevalent at shipyards.

Commercial, Office, Education and Fine Arts Sector

Some one million workers are employed in this sector in the city and there are around 30,000 unionized workers. As to malls, these number 136 in Istanbul. The vast majority of workers employed at malls and stores have been placed on unpaid leave. In this sector, corner-shop workers and premises that sell over the internet are very busy but workers here have greatly increased workloads. Although workers come into contact with thousands of people every day, the necessary anti-epidemic measures are not being taken.

Food Industry

Of the some 140,000 workers employed in the food sector in Istanbul, those unionized amount to 10,000. Nearly seventy per-cent of food plants in Istanbul have upped their production during the epidemic. There are no redundancies thanks to increased food production, but the placing of workers aged over fifty and in the risk group on compulsory annual leave or unpaid leave is becoming ever more widespread. Non-implementation of post-coronavirus epidemic hygiene conditions has been observed, especially in ununionized and unorganized workplaces.

Cement, Soil and Glass Industry

Some 25,000 workers are employed in this sector in Istanbul and there are around 2,500 unionized workers. Redundancies are taking place in ceramics and cement and above all in glass. The furloughing of workers with chronic complaints is becoming widespread. There are shops that have halted work for periods of fifteen to twenty days at factories that manufacture for abroad.

General Business Sector and Municipalities

Some 250,000 workers are employed in this branch in Istanbul and there are around 45,000 unionized workers. Workers at some municipalities having chronic complaints and sick notes are experiencing problems over leave due to administrators’ arbitrary attitudes. Also, fare and meal allowances are being withheld during the epidemic contrary to the communiqué at some municipalities due to rotational work not being performed.

Weaving, Ready-Made Clothing and Learher Industry

Some 400,000 workers are employed in this sector in Istanbul and there are around 15,000 unionized workers. The sector is undergoing contraction and bosses are exploiting the epidemic and have started firing. Health controls and hygienic measures at ununionized workplaces are very superficial and inadequate. Common usage spaces, above all toilets, are most unhealthy.

Health and Social Services Branch

Some 100,000 workers are employed in this sector in Istanbul and there are around 5,000 unionized workers. Health workers are experiencing serious difficulty with protective equipment. The number of workers testing positive for coronavirus is gradually increasing. There is no counterpart for workers of the additional payments given to civil servants.

Transport

Some 230,000 workers are employed in this sector in Istanbul and there are around 30,000 unionized workers. Business is waning at seventy per-cent of enterprises. Transport workers in the risk group are being forcibly placed on annual leave or unpaid leave due to the decline in business that is more prevalent with each passing day.

Defense and Security

Some 75,000 workers are employed in this sector in Istanbul and there are around 14,000 unionized workers. Workers in the risk group are being forcibly placed on annual leave or unpaid leave. At workplaces operating in affiliation with the Ministry of National Defence, Coastguard and General Commands of Gendarmerie, 3,200 workers are employed and have been moved by decree to the rotational working system in groups at plants.

Construction Sector

Some 450,000 workers are employed in the construction sector in Istanbul and there are around 5,000 unionized workers. Since March 11, roughly 15,000 workers have been made redundant during the coronavirus epidemic.

Press, Publishing and Newspaper Branch

Some 55,000 workers are employed in this sector in Istanbul and there are around 2,500 unionized workers. Furloughs given on account of the epidemic are being deducted from annual leave.