Turkish textile company fires 104 workers with lifting of layoff ban

The lifting of the layoff ban has started to take its toll on the labor market, as a textile union has announced that an Istanbul company on July 1 fired 104 workers without giving them their severance and notice pay.

Duvar English

Textile Employees' Union (Tekstil-İş) has announced that a textile company fired 104 workers on July 1, on the same day that the Turkish government lifted the layoff ban imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, daily Cumhuriyet reported on July 15.

The workers employed at a company in Istanbul's Güngören district were not given their severance and notice pay, Tekstil-İş said in its statement.

The workers benefitted from a government wage support system during the pandemic. The system was adopted in early 2020 but expired on July 1, when most remaining coronavirus restrictions were also lifted.

“When the workers went to the factory to restart work on July 1, they came across closed doors. During the time period that the workers have not come to work [due to the pandemic], Neo Trend boss Kazım Akbulut has evacuated the factory,” said the union.

“Neo Trend boss Kazım Akbulut is an explict example of those who have profited from the pandemic. Neo Trend workers are demanding their severence and notice pay -- their most basic rights. They have worked for years in front of machines,” the union further said.

The pandemic-era ban on layoffs kept a lid on the jobless rate, but its end will lead to a surge in the number of unemployed, experts say.

The so-called short labor wage system, which partially covered wages of workers whose hours were cut short, had ended at the end of March but was extended again after Turkey re-imposed tighter coronavirus measures.

The final stage in Turkey's gradual normalization process began on July 1, with curfews and lockdowns lifted, as well as all venues and businesses opening without restrictions.