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French cosmetics brand dismisses union members in Turkey

Following an intensive recruitment campaign by Petrol-Is Chemical and Rubber Workers’ Union of Turkey, in March, a sufficient number of workers at Yves Rocher’s subsidiary in Turkey, Kosan Kozmetik, excerised their free choice of being of part of a union. Once the proof of the majority was obtained, Petrol-Is leadership attempted to build a constructive social dialogue and approached the company with an offer to discuss collective bargaining. The company rejected the offer and challenged the union certificate issued by the Ministry of Labour in court, using unfounded arguments and loopholes in the national legislation to hinder collective bargaining.

In April, local management dismissed 14 members of Petrol-Is due to their union membership. In addition, management continued to pressure and intimidate workers, undermining their legitimate rights to join a union at the plant. As the workers refused to give up their affiliation with Petrol-Is, management dismissed six more union members on 11 May. On 15 May, Kosan Kozmetik sacked 65 workers over their involvement in trade union work, bringing the total number of dismissed workers to 85.

In a letter to the company, IndustriALL Global Union called on management to respect trade union rights, reinstate the dismissed union members and enter into dialogue with Petrol-İş. Valter Sanches, IndustriALL general secretary said:

“Kosan Kozmetik’s behaviour constitutes a blatant violation of Turkish labour law, as well as fundamental international labour standards, including Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize, and Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining of the International Labour Organization (ILO).”

IndustriALL’ French affiliate FCE-CFDT has approached the central company management in Paris to urgently intervene.

Petrol-Is and its members picketed in front of the plant with a large support from other workplaces and society.

“It is completely unacceptable for such well-known global brand not to respect fundamental rights in its subsidiaries,”

says Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary.

“We expect Yves Rocher to open the channels to address the situation in Gebze. Otherwise we will take it to different platforms through extensive campaign.”

Based in Rennes, France, Yves Rocher is a worldwide cosmetics and beauty brand. The company is present in 88 countries and employs 13,500 people, not including more than 215,000 people employed through indirect jobs. Kosan Kozmetik employs 400 workers, and produces the brand Flormar, the number one make-up brand in Turkey with a 21 per cent market share. The plant also exports products to the markets of 104 countries, primarily in developing countries.


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