June 2, 2013
Turkey: Strikes Looming In June
Sungar Savran writing from Istanbul is optimistic about the escalation of labor struggles this month. He is editor of the ISCI Mucadelesi (Workers' Struggle).
Of course there were members of the working class in the uprising in Taksim the last couple of days, but the question now is if the organized labor movement in Turkey will follow through with strikes already planned for the month of June.
There has been recent passivity and some bureaucratic repression in 2009-2010. But there is now renewed self confidence. Savran points out there have been recent actions by the workers of Turkish Airlines who have been on strike for two weeks trying to get the jobs back for 305 workers. They were lost as a result of a wildcat strike protesting a ban on strikes in civil aviation. They won the strike but the workers who lost their jobs have not been reinstated.
But the big strike is on its way. The Metal Workers have already given notice (per legal requirements) that they will be on strike sometime in June. This could include over 100,000 workers at the center of Turkey's manufacturing industry. In this strike the rank and file may need to over rule the conservative union bureaucracy, but the time may be right.
One of the fighting unions KESK, Federation of Public Employees' Unions has already declared a nation-wide strike for June 5th.
All these strikes together could lead a general strike which includes political demands and we could see revolutionary change. This would impact the whole region as Turkey is currently an ally of the United States and a member of NATO. We will be watching!!