Erol is 40 years old and worked, until 5 May 2010 as a sorter for UPS in Istanbul. He is married and has 4 children.
Why has UPS sacked you?
Officially, they say the number of employees is being reduced. But I am convinced that I was dismissed because I am a member of the Tumtis trade union. 119 workers have shared my fate.
Why do you need a trade union?
We work 10 hours a day, with overtime on top. We get 521 Turkish lira (approximately €260) per month in wages. But for example, it costs 450 lira to rent a flat in Istanbul. Things cannot continue as they are, these are slave conditions. They give us no tea break, only 10 minutes for lunch. Workers are pitted against one another over this question: if one worker exceeds his/her 10 minute lunch break, the next is penalised. This poisons the atmosphere in the workplace.
What must be done?
We demand an 8 hour day. We want 1,500-2,000 lira per month. This is what we are struggling for. And of course, we demand the re-instatement of all sacked workers. But not just re-instatement with the same conditions as previously. Our trade union must be accepted, and given the right to negotiate. Our rights must be given to us.
What are you doing to achieve these demands?
The most important thing is to organise more workers. There are 4,500 UPS workers in the whole of Turkey. We distribute leaflets, we speak with the workers, we organise actions and protests. Everyday, new UPS workers join Tumtis and help us to increase our strength.