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    Workers in offices unionizing

    Hurriyet Daily News
    05.12.2008 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - An uneventful protest that sought to encourage collective organization among white-collar workers was held in front the Vakıfbank Plaza in Istanbul Wednesday.

    "We want to make people aware of the importance of organizing," Nedim Akay, former IBM employee and protest organizer, told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

    A written statement released by organizers said, "Every day, in IT companies, in banking and finance firms, in health institutions, in press institutions and many other firms with non-unionized white-collar workers, hundreds are being removed from work, quietly."

    The statement said firms have tried to prevent workers’ right to organize and fear of unfair sackings have prevented unionizing among workers.

    The protesters plan to return to Vakıfbank plaza every Wednesday after the bayram holiday. "We want to use the experience we gained with IBM worker’s own struggle to unionize to help all the workers of the plaza do the same," said Akay.

    Of all the workers at the plaza, 50 percent are non-union engineers, so the Chamber of Electrical Engineers is here to offer support and make people aware of the importance of unionizing, chamber board member Kurtuluş Kaya told the Daily News.

    IBM has been in the news in recent months for its own battle with an organized work force. The law states that if more than 50 percent of a workforce wishes it, they can have union representation. Over 50 percent of IBM workers have given support to the union, but IBM still does not recognize their right to collectively bargain. Akay said he had been fired from his job on Nov. 17 for being a union representative. Two other IBM workers, Elvan Demircioğlu and Berk Alev, were also laid off last month.
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