Millions of workers became poorer, unemployed and pushed into precarious work during the pandemic. The AKP-MHP government launched a series of attacks in line with the needs of the capital during the pandemic period. While the workers were pushed into conditions where they lost hope for the future, the profits of the capital owners grew apace.

It was declared that “Dismissals were prohibited”, during the pandemic, while millions of workers were either sent home on unpaid leave or dismissed using the Article 25/2 (Code 29-Dismissals for reasons of immorality or ill will). During the pandemic, the rate of those dismissed with Code 29 increased by 70%. Just as hundreds of thousands of public workers were unjustly and unlawfully dismissed and stripped of their rights by decree laws after July 15 (the coup attempt on 15th of July 2015), the same was done to thousands of workers with the Code 29 attack during the pandemic. With the rising struggle against Code 29, they had to say “We repealed Code 29”. However, layoffs continued with Article 25/2 giving different codes. With the end of the ban on dismissals, mass layoffs began in many workplaces. While TurkStat claims that unemployment rates have decreased, in reality the unemployment rate has increased by 11 points in three years.

Workplace homicides continued unabated, especially in the construction sector, since inspections are inadequate and precautions are not taken. Suicides have increased due to unemployment and fear for the future. Young people, who are at the forefront of the segments who are worried about the future, struggled with either unemployment or imposition of low wages when they found jobs. On the other hand, the usurpation of the rights of EYT people (those who would be entitled to retirement according to the former versions of the social security legislation while they now have to wait for the new age limits) continued during the pandemic.

Even the simplest corona measures were not taken, while working conditions in workplaces were getting worse day by day. On the other hand, wages plummeted in the face of rising inflation. Low wages were imposed in the face of hikes in basic consumer goods, bills, and house rents. With practices such as unpaid leave, precarious work has become the general norm of working. Recruitment through fixed-term employment contracts and İŞKUR, the public employment agency increased. Those workers who were supposed to be given good news in previous years on the grounds that they have become public workers instead of being workers of the subcontractors within public institutions were in reality not granted their rights and they were condemned to living with the lowest wages. 

On the one hand, hostility towards “refugees” was provoked, on the other hand, “refugee” workers were forced to work in precarious conditions, with wages even below the minimum wage. Refugee workers, who were turned into weapons in the hands of bosses to impose servile working conditions on Turkish workers, were subjected to the most severe conditions of exploitation. The capitalists imposed the same conditions on the workers they took abroad from Turkey. They usurped all their rights, especially their wages. In short, subcontracted work and precarious forms of work have increased. 

In addition, the heaviest bill of the pandemic was cut to women workers and laborers. Women, whose domestic burdens increased during the pandemic, were the most abused at workplaces. Women workers were the first ones to be laid off. On the other hand, incidents such as abuse, mobbing and violence against female workers in the workplaces increased during the pandemic. Women were forced to accept such intimidation and harsh working conditions.

In the face of increasing violation of rights during the pandemic, the tendency to unionize has increased. However, the constitutional right to be a union member has been blocked in many workplaces. Despite this, workers continue to cling to their “right to be unionized”. 

While the capitalism in power has increased its attacks during the pandemic, there are also those who resist these attacks. Workers in many places are resisting Code 29, arbitrary dismissals, usurpation of rights, prevention of union activity, servile working conditions, harassment-mobbing against female workers. Sinbo, SML, Bakırköy, Bayrampaşa and Şişli Municipalities, Tur Assist, Alba Plastik, Bel Karper, AdkoTurk, Xiaomi Salcomp, Kentpar, CarrefourSa, Baldur, Uzel, Rönesans Holding, Tanzim Market, A101, Kayı Construction workers and many more workers’ struggles and resistances are raising the flag of the struggle. 

We will be in the Kartal Square in Istanbul at 15.00 on Sunday, October 24, for our labor, for our bread, for our freedom and for our future.

We invite all workers and laborers, all institutions that are in favor of labor, unions and workers’ organizations to our rally where we will establish the tribune of the workers.

 

* Repeal the Article 25/2 (Code 29)!

* Provide Job and Income Security for Everyone!

* Subcontracted work should be prohibited!

* End Abuse, Pressure, Mobbing in the Workplaces!

* Dismissals with Decree Laws Should Be Canceled!

* Remove Barriers to Union Organization!