Lead by their union Tek Gida Is, the food workers union, the TEKEL workers who gathered in the country’s capital are resisting attacks and assaults by the police, the state, the bosses and the weather.
After a brutal police attack where many were beaten, pushed to a pond, pepper sprayed, water cannoned the workers of the public sector TEKEL continue to hold their ground against privatizations and contracting.
The barbaric police assault that took place couple of days ago was a topic of inquiry in the parliament where more liberal representatives questioned the government’s motive in attacking the workers in such a brutal way. The government‘s assault is in question mainly when there has been no violence from the workers.
The workers are enjoying an avalanche of support from nearly every sector and part of the society. In many cities, including downtown Istanbul, organized workers, professionals, students and people on the street joined marches and demonstrations to give solidarity to the TEKEL workers. Except for the reactionary, government controlled religious Hak-Is and some other fascist unions, the labor organizations have poured out to support the workers and started “visits” which are traditional ways to support the resisting workers.
The resistance and the police attacks which have been aired on national media caught the attention of the people and raised concerns. The government, first trying to stop the march by preventing the workers from leaving their cities before they could even reach the capital, is now taking steps back.
Yesterday, the president of Tek Gida Is, gave a statement to the workers in front of the largest labor union confederation Turk-Is, where he said the demands of the workers are very clear as they reject all government plans to privatize the jobs and take away the benefits of the workers. He also said two ministers were tasked by the government to look into the dispute.
The workers, on the other hand, gathered in front of the Turk-Is confederation early in the morning to condemn the privatizations. “No time to slow, resistance continues,” “we will die but will not go back,” “General strike, general resistance,” and “The day will come, the AKP will pay for their crimes to the people!” are the chants of the day. The workers see the AKP, the pro Muslim Justice and Development Party as well as the capitalist system being at the root of the problem.
The Health Laborers Union SES is planning a solidarity visit later today with a long march downtown.