http://sendika.org 29 November 2008
Ankara: Thousands said “We will not pay for capital’s crisis”.
In Turkey, Ankara more than 60 thousand people marched against “Unemployment, Poverty and Price Increases for Work, Peace and Democracy”. Today a demonstration is held in Ankara after the call of left trade union confederations, KESK (Confederation of Public Trade Unions) and DISK (Confederation of Progressive Workers’ Trade Unions) and more than 60 thousand workers, unemployed, women and students from various organizations from the country participated, demanding an end to unemployment and recent price increases on public services. While the AKP government in Turkey is preparing to make a new stand-by agreement with IMF and more than 100 thousand formal and informal workers are laid off in recent months, local government in Ankara increased the price of natural gas, which is used for heating and cooking in the capital city, by a total of 82 % in 2008. Today’s demonstration was the first big demonstration of the confederations after the demonstration of People’s Houses in the beginning of November and various local protests and demonstrations of labor organizations against the crisis during this month.
The most important groups of the demonstration were: The left metal workers’ union (Birlesik Metal/United Metal ) from DİSK which is organizing widespread mass demonstrations and protests against lay offs during their ongoing collective bargaining process with the principle demand of “prohibition of the lay offs”; various health organizations of precarious workers, doctors and public health workers who were marching for health right to all for three days from Istanbul to Ankara before joining the demonstration; union of public education workers; People’s Houses and left political parties.
Chairperson of DISK Suleyman Celebi called the people to turn their workplaces, city squares, working class neighborhoods, open shopping areas and schools into places of protests and emphasized that, what is proposed today as a “solution” is indeed a proposal for saving the capitalist system from its crisis. Celebi called the people to form “struggle platforms against the crisis” in their cities, to make regular weekly demonstrations to express the demands of people and to defend their work right against the massive lay offs by not leaving their workplaces.
The immediate demands of the left trade unions and other mass organizations in general against the crisis at this point are:
1) Prohibition of lay offs
2) Government price control on basic consumption goods and rents
3) Guarantee for the use of basic public services
4) Canceling of credit card and agricultural loan interest payments
5) No to new IMF stand-by agreements