A report from the Platform of the Branches of Istanbul Worker Unions (IISSP), which was published on April 3, revealed that the majority of Istanbul’s four million workers do not belong to a union. The report stated that this puts the workers in an especially vulnerable position amid the coronavirus outbreak as it the pandemic is expected to trigger mass unemployment.
“We know that many workers at factories and workplaces have tested positive for the coronavirus. We repeat our request for paid time off to all non-urgent and non-essential workers.”
The report noted that some 150,000 workers in Istanbul work in the petroleum, chemistry, plastic, medication industries, only 5,000 of whom are members of a union.
While many automobile industries have reportedly paused production, many workers were reported being forced to take unpaid leave and contract workers have been laid off.Layoffs should be temporarily banned, Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions urges
Workers in the trade, offices, education and fine arts sectors in Istanbul make up about 1,000,000 persons, 30,000 of whom are unionized.
While there are around 135 malls in Istanbul, reports of mall employees being forced to take unpaid leave are now common.
Meanwhile, supermarket employees and workers at online shopping venues have been placed under a huge workload and poor preventative measures.Worker fired from the construction site of the AKM in Istanbul for demanding better conditions against COVID-19
There are around 140,000 food workers in Istanbul, only 10,000 of whom are unionized. About 70 percent of food producers have increased production, thereby avoiding layoffs.
Still, workers aged 50 and above have reported being forced to go on unpaid leave.
Municipal workers and miscellaneous workers total some 250,000 in Istanbul, only 45,000 of whom are unionized, the report noted. The only complaints that surfaced in this group had to do with the reluctance of individual administrators to allow workers to stop working if they have they have chronic illnesses.
Clothing retail and leather workers total some 400,000, only 15,000 of whom are members of a union. While layoffs have been reported in the industry during the outbreak, workers who continue to work have reported poor preventative measures.
Health and social workers total some 100,000 in Istanbul, only 5,000 of whom are members of a union. Health workers suffer from a dire shortage of personal protective equipment and have reported rising numbers of individuals who test positive for COVID-19.Worker fired from the construction site of the AKM in Istanbul for demanding better conditions against COVID-19
The transportation sector employs some 230,000 people in Istanbul, only 30,000 of whom are members of a union. Some 70 percent of workplaces have reported decreased business and no preventions measures being undertaken for individuals who are in high-risk categories.
The construction industry employs some 450,000 workers in Istanbul, 5,000 of whom are members of a union. Some 15,000 workers in the construction sector have been laid off since March 11 - when the Turkey’s first COVID-19 patient was officially reported.Workplace accidents claim at least 131 Turkish workers in FebruaryTurkish labor unions demand paid time off and increased pensions to combat coronavirus