Global ‘families’ day’ shows support for persecuted DHL Turkey workers

25 Mar 2013

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

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

In London a family demonstration will be held from 12:00 onwards outside the German embassy at 23 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PZ. The German government is a major shareholder in Deutsche Post-DHL so unions and sympathisers will be making visits to German embassies in their countries, and delivering 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 will join 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 will highlight how Deutsche Post-DHL is violating international laws and its own corporate social responsibility standards in Turkey. A press conference will be held at 10.00  at the Point Hotel, Istanbul, after which journalists will be given the chance to visit picket lines and meet sacked Turkish DHL workers and their families.

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 will also examine how DHL management has been actively supporting a ‘yellow’ (false, company-led) union in opposition to the legitimate choice of workers. The Forum will call 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.

For more details please contact
Sam Dawson, ITF press officer. Tel: +44 (0)20 7940 9260. Mobile: 07850 736146. Email:

Richard Elliott, UNI communications director. Tel: +41 79 794 9709. Email: