29 Mar 2018

Belgian MEP Kathleen van Brempt and leaders of the ETF (European Transport Workers’ Federation) have joined a protest by DHL Express workers in Istanbul. They pledged their support for 9 workers unfairly dismissed for being union members, and demanded that DHL Express Turkey and global management move quickly to recognise the Tümtis union and reinstate the sacked employees.

Van Brempt, a member of the centre-left Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament, offered her support. “Tümtis can count on support from Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament and from social democrats in all EU member states. DHL Express should not use double standards and discriminate against workers in Turkey. Surely DHL should understand that not only delivery services cross borders – workers’ rights and solidarity do too!”

DHL Express Turkey’s shameful anti-union behavior is all the more shocking because it breaches a protocol signed in 2016 between parent company Deutsche Post DHL – which is over 20% owned by the German state – and global unions ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and UNI Global. In the agreement “DP DHL acknowledges the right of all employees to join…a union of their choice.”

Speaking at the picket line, ETF President Frank Moreels said that “DHL Express Turkey’s aggressive anti-union behaviour is clearly against both the spirit and letter of DPDHL’s agreement with global unions. Tümtis is determined to hold DHL Express Turkey to account, and get their members the recognition and collective voice they are entitled to – under both Turkish law and DPDHL’s own policies. We stand by them completely in this struggle.”

It seems news of the protocol never reached DHL Express Turkey. Soon after it was signed, Tümtis (Turkey Motor Vehicle and Transport Workers’ Union) began recruiting members at DHL Express. They quickly reached the 40% coverage required for official recognition under Turkish law, which was confirmed by the Turkish Ministry of Labour in February 2017.

However, as ETF General Secretary Eduardo Chagas says, “instead of moving to negotiate with Tümtis, DHL Express has instead done all it can to derail the process, launching legal objections to the Ministry’s decision and firing 9 workers who had affiliated to Tümtis. The union was left with no option but to begin strike action on 17 July 2017. Today we join their protest and demand that DHL lives up to its global promise to respect workers’ right to union representation.”

Van Brempt, Chagas and Moreels were joined at the protest by colleagues from the ETF and ITF. The visit is part of a four-day mission to Turkey, which includes an attempted visit to a trade unionist unjustly imprisoned for union activities and meetings with all ETF and ITF affiliate unions in Turkey. Check out NoTurkeyMission18 for more.

For further information contact:

Communications Officer, European Transport Workers’ Federation
+32 470 93 05 90

Deniz AKDOĞAN  (speaks Turkish)
Senior Section Assistant for Inland Transport Sections, International Transport Workers’ Federation
+44 (0) 7725206483