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Labour union founded in Zonguldak on November 17, 1946 to operate in the mining branch, originally as the Association of Mine Workers in the Eregli Coal Basin; affiliated to Türk-Is, MIF (International Federation of Mining) and ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and Service Workers).

The union was founded by Hayri Oguz, Memduh Süer (temporary chairman), Ömer Karahasan, Mustafa Erol, Izzet Özcan, Kenan Erdogan, Süleyman Cevikel, Kemal Karabacak, Veli Toker, Sadik Eren and Sabri Kocer.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 9.4.1947 (150 delegates participated), 20.4.1948, 9.9.1949, 8.4.1950, 22.11.1950 (extraordinary), 23.12.1950 (extraordinary), 10.3.1951 (extraordinary), 6.7.1952, 28.6.1953, 20.6.1954, 19.6.1955, 20.11.1955 (extraordinary), 17.6.1956, 9.9.1956 (extraordinary), 14.3.1957 (extraordinary), 21.7.1957, 25.5.1958, 3-4.6.1959, 20.7.1960, 16.6.1961, 24.5.1962, 18-19.5.1963, 7.7.1964 (extraordinary), 15-17.9.1964, 16.7.1966, 9.5.1967 (extraordinary), 17.6.1968, 10.7.1969 (extraordinary), 24.12.1970, 13.3.1972, 20.3.1974, 16.11.1975, 11-12.3.1977, 19-21.3.1980, 16.7.1982, 21-23.3.1983, 21-22.7.1983 (extraordinary), 4.1.1985 (extraordinary), 10-11.1985 (extraordinary), 27- 30.11.1986, 3.4.1988 (extraordinary), 16-19.11.1989, 24.3.1991 (extraordinary), 1.3.1992 (extraordinary), 13-15.11.1992, 29.9-1.10.1995 and 12.10.1997 (extraordinary). The board elected at the last congress is composed of Semsi Denizer (chairman), Mustafa Daglioglu (general secretary), Rahmi Yaman, Dursun Oguz, Irfan Akyigit, Zeki Erdogan, Cetin Altun. Upon rumors on impropriety about the chairman Semsi Denizer, the Chairmen Board of the union recommended to convene the general assembly on September 22, 1997. Based on this recommending, the board convened the 4th Extraordinary General Assembly. At the general assembly, all the members of the board has changed, except Semsi Denizer. Later, the public prosecuter’s office quashed the charge on Semsi Denizer.

The roots of the union go back to a Mutual Benefit Fund that was founded in the Kilimli region in 1942. The Fund was closed about six months later on grounds of violating the law. It was followed by the Association of Mine Workers in the Eregli Coal Basin which was converted into a trade union when Trade Union Act number 5018 came into force in February 1947.

In 1949 the name of the union was changed to ZMIS (Union of Mine Workers of Zonguldak). In 1980 the name was amended again to ZHMIS (Union of Mine Workers of Zonguldak and Environs). The present name of the union (Genel Maden-Is) was adopted at the congress held on 21-22.7.1983.

The union first requested a lump sum raise for all the workers in 1951. At that time it did not have the right to collective bargaining and strike, and this demand was conveyed by means of a delegation which the workers selected among themselves.

In 1954 the chairman of the union was elected to the parliament from the Democratic Party and served in this office until 1960.

On 18.8.1958 the union took part in the foundation of the Federation of Mine Workers of Turkey in order to gather all miners under an umbrella organization and the chairman of the union became the chairman of the Federation too.

In 1959 the vice-chairman of the union, Mehmet Alpdündar, evoked the disapproval of the employer and the Ministry when he as a member of the Commission for Determining the Minimum Wage refused to accept their terms. Mehmet Alpdündar was removed from his elected post as shop steward and then fired from the company. The authorities afterwards intervened in the congress of the union that was held in June 1959. 40 of the delegates were replaced at the orders of the Governor of Zonguldak and the general assembly meeting convened under direct police control. Mehmet Alpdündar was evicted from the hall by force, whereupon 70 delegates walked out in protest. Although the opposition won the elections at this congress, in 1960 the former chairman Ömer Karahasan was reelected.

In 1960 the union affiliated to Türk-Is. Chairman Ömer Karahasan became a member of the Constitutional Assembly which was formed after the military intervention in May 1960.

At the congress in 1961 Mehmet Alpdündar was elected chairman by majority vote although he was not a delegate at the time. The general assembly sent a telegraph to the temporary military government stating that government pressure had until then made itself felt in all of the congresses of the union and this was the first congress held in complete freedom.

The first collective labour contract with EKI (Eregli Coal Works) was signed on 10.1.1964.

The extraordinary general assembly meeting on 7.7.1964 again became the scene of disputes and controversies in the union and as a result Mehmet Alpdündar was expelled from the union and dismissed from his job.

In 1965 the new collective labour contract which introduced a „merit raise" aroused reactions among the workers, leading to a work stoppage. The resistance that began at the mine in Gelik soon spread to the other mines. On March 11th a fight broke out when the gendarmerie tried to prevent the workers who entered the Eregli Coal Works by breaking the windows. Two workers, Satilmis Tepe and Mehmet Cavdar, died in the clashes, 15 soldiers were wounded and 14 workers disappeared. The Council of Ministers convened to discuss this first uprising in the history of mine workers and decided to send troops from Ankara. The representatives of Genel Maden-Is who tried to talk with the workers were beaten. The strike ended on 13.3.1965 through the mediation of several ministers.

In 1966 Mehmet Alpdündar founded an independent union called Türkiye Maden Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Mine Workers of Turkey) in Zonguldak as a rival to Genel Maden-Is.

In 1972 the union voiced a reserved criticism of the military intervention in 1971, mainly because at that time the union was conducting collective negotiations in five workplaces and the right to strike was subjected to permission by martial law commanders. However, the military coup in 1981 was praised at the congress of 1982 with the statement in the activity report that the coup „did not constitute a threat, but a rescue for miners and our union, for the miner has found his own aspirations in this intervention".

On 1.7.1983 the Federation of Mine Workers of Turkey held an extraordinary congress on account of the stipulations in the new Trade Union Act and converted itself into a national trade union with the name of Türkiye Maden-Is. Genel Maden-Is, on the other hand, decided not to join this new union but to continue its existence independently.

In 1984 attempts were made to unify Türkiye Maden-Is and Genel Maden-Is, and a protocol was signed between the two unions to this effect. According to the protocol Genel Maden-Is was to fulfil certain conditions, including the transfer of its headquarters to Ankara, after which Türkiye Maden-Is would abolish itself and, preserving its aggregate structure, become a branch of Genel Maden-Is. These efforts remained unsuccessful, however, and in 1985 the general assembly of Genel Maden-Is voted against this unification.

In 1990 the collective negotiations with the employer union Kamu-Sen, which represented the TTK (Coal Institution of Turkey) and MTA (Mine Prospecting and Research Institute), involving 50 thousand miners ended in dispute. The workers voted for a strike which began on 30.11.1990. Over 28 thousand workers employed in TKI workplaces supported this action with a one-day sympathy strike. Kamu-Sen retaliated with a lockout on 4.12.1990. On 4.1.1991 the union decided to organize a march to Ankara. The workers had to return back on the sixth day of the march because of the barriers erected by the police, as well as the cold weather and widespread illnesses. In the meantime discussions continued with the government. The Council of Ministers decided, however, to postpone for one month the 58-day old strike. An agreement was finally reached on 6.2.1991. The chairman of the union, Semsi Denizer, was dubbed as the „Local Lech Walesa" as a result of this action which had repercussions throughout the country.

The union criticized the employer severely for failure to comply with safety conditions when 263 miners died as a result of a firedamp explosion in Kozlu on 3.3.1992.

In December 1992 Semsi Denizer was elected to the post of general secretary in Türk-Is.

The union has Central, Uzülmez, Kozlu, Amasra, Armutcuk, Karadon and MTA branches. It published from the time of its foundation until 1980 a weekly newspaper called „Isci Sendikasi", which was published biweekly between 1980-1985. Since 1985 it has been converted into a monthly publication with the name of „Genel Maden-Is".

The union reported 12,000 members in 1947, 38.880 in 1959, 38.293 in 1975, 56,55 in 1979, 55,808 in 1984, 60,083 in 1986, 54,494 in 1987, 47,174 in 1996 and 44,936 in 1997.

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Labour union founded in Istanbul on March 31, 1962 to operate in the civilian air transport branch; affiliated to Türk-Is and ITF (International Transport Workers Federation).

The union is based in Istanbul and was founded by Sami Akalin, Erdogan Balci, Ibrahim Dincer, Muzaffer Ertan, Necati Gezer, M.Behcet Ilgicioglu, Adnan Kizilkaya, Turan Mutlu, Salih Özalp, Saadet Serdaroglu, Ayhan Toydemir, Memduh Kurnaz, Mustafa Türker and Hüseyin Ökcetin.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 23.6.1962, 29.12.1962, 23.9.1963, 28.11.1964, 14.3.1965, 11-12.3.1967, 15.3.1969, 13-14.1969 (extraordinary), 28.3.1970, 5.4.1971, 3-4.1974, 13-15.4.1974, 25-27.6.1975, 16-17.4.1977, 29.6-2.7.1979, 17-19.6.1982, 4-5.1989, in 1992, 14.11.1994 (extraordinary), 15-16.1.1995 and 4.1.1998.

The original charter of the union stated that it was a „national organization" and would not act against „national interests and nationalism". As there have never been more than a few unions in this branch, the union has not faced serious competition from rival organizations, but has become an arena on which numerous professional associations struggled to gain weight in the leadership of the union.

The union experienced internal conflicts after 1971 and opposing groups accused each other of acting in violation of the policies of the union.

In 1975 the workers at THY (Turkish Airlines) waged a strike for worker rights (and not for higher wages). This strike was suspended twice by the Council of Ministers and halted once by the labour court. A second strike called by the union in 1978 was again suspended by the government. However, the longest strike by the union took place in 1980. This action was triggered by the dismissal of 14 employees from THY in 1979. The employer declined to comply with the terms of the agreement that had been signed on 12.9.1979, and started a campaign for the organization of its employees in a newly founded union called UC-Sen. Several workers who resisted the intimidations of the employer and refused to resign from Hava-Is were fired. The union called a strike on 21.1.1980, and the employer confederation TUHIS that represented THY retaliated by declaring a lockout. The strike was suspended for one month by the government on grounds of „national health and security". This decision was voided by the High Court of Appeals, and the strike was resumed. The strike ended after 84 days.

At the congress in 1989 there was a radical change in the leadership of the union. The former board was challenged by a faction which called themselves the „Social Solidarity Group" and criticized the leadership for pursuing a policy of compromise and capitulation over the last 10 years. This group won the support of the majority and the publication of the union stated in its next issue that „this congress would be remembered as one terminating the collaborating and compromising style of unionism".

In February 1990 a strike was called when the collective negotiations with THY and Havas (airport services company) ended in discord. The strike continued for 38 days at THY and 40 days at Havas. Soon after the collective labour contracts were signed, THY and Havas fired 584 and 183 workers, respectively. The union announced that most of the dismissed employees were those that had taken the lead in the strike action.

Almost all Hava-Is members took part in the actions organized by Türk-Is on 3.1.1991.

However, the long strike and the following massive layoffs led to conflicts in the union. The congress in 1992 was held earlier than planned due to these disputes, and an extraordinary congress was held in November 1994. Nevertheless, chairman Atilay Aycin and the other members of the board were reelected at both meetings.

In April 1994 pilots who were members of Hava-Is waged a 3-day work stoppage when THY management issued new regulations forcing the pilots to work for longer hours.

The same month Hava-Is members from all parts of the country participated in the demonstration that was organized by Türk-Is in Ankara against the privatizations. In 1995 the collective negotiations with THY and Havas ended once again in dispute and the union decided to call a strike on 24.2.1995. However, the strike at THY was suspended by the government and the collective negotiations were concluded by the Supreme Council of Arbitration. In the meantime the Ministry of Transport intervened in the strike at Havas by changing the regulations so that THY was allowed to provide ground services for aircraft. On March 7, 1995, 800 strikers started a march to Ankara in order to prevent the privatization of Havas and to force the political circles to an agreement. Havas was sold, however, while this action was still under way. The union then organized a march in Bakirköy, where the union headquarters are located, and two days later the strikers waged a sit-in before the union building, partially stopping the traffic on the main highway.

While the strike was still continuing, chairman Atilay Aycin was sentenced to a 20-month prison term for a speech he had made at a demonstration in 1991. Aycin was arrested while he was sitting in the tents put up by the strikers to support the action. The timing of the arrest was planned as an intimidation for the workers. The strike finally ended through the inter mediation of Türk-Is chairman Bayram Meral, but most of the demands of the union were not accepted. After the agreement there were numerous firings, and the coercions by the employer to force the workers to resign from the union are still continuing.

In 1995, Atilla Aycin was released when several articles of the relevant law were amended by the parliament and returned to the chairmanship of the union. After the last congress held on 4.1.1998, the board is composed of Atilla Aycin (chairman), Namik Sezgin (deputy chairman), Mustafa Yagci (general secretary), Kaya Sayin (general organization secretary), Ali Bayrakci finance secretary) and Eyüp Kaplan (education secretary).

The union has branches in Ankara, Izmir and Antalya, and representative offices in Adana and Dalaman.

The union has a monthly periodical called „Hava-Is Dergisi" which reported 12,689 members in 1996 and 12,413 in July 1997.

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Labour union founded in Istanbul on June 7, 1965 to operate in the glass, brick and tile branch; affiliated to Türk-Is and ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and Service Workers).

The union was founded by 36 glass workers including Mehmet Sismanoglu (temporary chairman), Ramazan Türkmen, Yusuf Topcu, Irfan Manavoglu, Adil Kilic and Birsen Karacam.

The union held general assembly meetings in February 1966 (extraordinary), on 12.6.1966, in March 1979 (6th congress), 1983 (8th congress), 1986, 1989, July 1990 (extraordinary), 1993 and on 12.8.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Mustafa Bagcaci (chairman), Ahmet Okuyan (deputy chairman), Mehmet Uludag (finance secretary) and Riza Sami Aydogan (education secretary).

The union was originally founded in September 1963 by workers at the Pasabahce Glass Factory under the name of Kristal-Is Seramik Sise ve Cam Sanayii Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Ceramic, Bottle and Glass Industry Workers), but the name was changed not long afterwards to the Union of Bottle, Glass and Crystal Industry Workers. This period which is referred to in Kristal-Is documents as the „first founding phase of the union" lasted until May 1965.

At that time the authorized trade union in this branch was Cam-Is (Union of Glass Industry of Turkey). The collective labour contract signed by Cam-Is at the Pasabahce Glass Factory was regarded as totally unsatisfactory by the workers. When Kristal-Is organized the majority of the workers at Pasabahce and demanded new collective negotiations, the enterprise came to the brink of a strike. However, the dispute between the two unions was settled through the mediation of Türk-Is and in May 1965 both unions abolished themselves to establish a new union: Birlesik Cam-Is (United Glass Workers).

The representatives of Kristal-Is claimed that they were not allowed to function in the leadership of Birlesik Cam-Is and after receiving the support of Türk-Is founded the present-day Kristal-Is on June 7, 1965.

The union affiliated to Türk-Is in March 1966.

In May 1967 the union became authorized on branch level and was organized in 7 workplaces. In February 1967 Cam-Is convened an extraordinary congress and decided unanimously to join Kristal-Is. However in the second half of 1967 a group including former leaders of the abolished Cam-Is founded a union called Ideal-Is. This union also merged with Kristal-Is soon afterwards. In the meantime, however, a group of unionists from the Cayirrova branch of Kristal-Is broke away in March 1968 to form Hür Cam-Is (Union of Cement Industry, Earthenware and All Types of Glass Industry Workers of Turkey).

By 1968 Kristal-Is had organized 87% of the workers in this branch. One of the most important events in the history of the union was the strike at Pasabahce in 1966. The strike lasted 83 days and only ended when the government postponed the action. Kristal-Is, which disagreed with Türk-Is about the resolution of the strike, and the unions that supported Kristal-Is were later temporarily expelled from Türk-Is. Some of the discharged unions afterwards took part in the foundation of DISK, but Kristal-Is returned to Türk-Is.

The union waged another strike at Pasabahce in 1971. Kristal-Is and Hür Cam-Is cooperated during this strike which lasted for 58 days in spite of the rivalry between the two unions.

Kristal-Is pursued a social democratic course in Türk-Is in the 1970’s and was among the 12 Türk-Is affiliated unions that prepared and published the „Report of the Twelve" on 2.7.1971. After 1979 it took part in the faction opposing the leadership with the demand for the institution of trade union democracy inside Türk-Is.

The leadership of Kristal-Is, composed of chairman Mehmet Sismanoglu, general secretary Ramazan Türkmen and finance secretary Yusuf Topcu did not change from the time of its foundation until the congress in 1979. At that time, however, a new board under the chairmanship of Hasan Basri Babali was elected. The new leaders of the union described themselves as defenders of „class and mass unionism". This change in the leadership revived the attempts for a cooperation and unification between Hür Cam-Is and Kristal-Is. The two unions signed a protocol in November 1979 for acting in unison in the coming collective negotiations. These negotiations ended in dispute and the unions waged a strike in May 1980 which lasted all through the summer months until they were terminated by the military regime in September 1980.

When the activities of DISK and its affiliates were suspended after the military coup in 1980, Kristal-Is remained as practically the only union in the branch and after a while Hür Cam-Is members began to join Kristal-Is.

The new Trade Union Act in 1983 modified the industrial branches, and the glass and cement branches were combined. Kristal-Is which changed its name accordingly suddenly found itself in a larger branch, which entailed problems in meeting the stipulation of organizing a minimum 10% of the workers in the branch. It also faced a new rival in Türkiye Cimse-Is union. Whereas Kristal-Is maintained its organizational strength in the glass sub-sector, it was not very successful in the earthen-ware, ceramic and cement industries.

In 1991 the union again waged a 39-day strike covering 13 thousand workers in various workplaces in the glass sector.

The publication of the union, „Kristal-Is Gazetesi", was issued irregularly until 1986, but it is published periodically since that date.

The union has branches in Pasabahce, Topkapi, Lüleburgaz, Mersin, Gebze and Erzincan, and representative offices in Mardin, Denizli and Muratli.

The union reported 17,688 members in 1996 and 18,296 members in 1997.

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Labour union founded in Istanbul on August 29, 1963 to operate in the warehouse and storage branch, originally under the name of Likat-Is (Union of Port and Loading and Unloading Workers of Turkey); affiliated to Türk-Is and ITF (International Transport Workers Federation).

The union is based in Ankara and was founded by 19 workers including Mehmet Ali Sari (temporary chairman), Muhittin Gezer, Adil Balcioglu and Ahmet Kemalettin Uremiser. It affiliated to Türk-Is in 1963 and moved its headquarters to Ankara in 1966.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 3.11.1963, 28- 29.8.1964, 22-25.10.1966, 24-29.3.1969, 15-20.6.1971, 12.7.1972, 16.11.1974, 24-27.6.1977, 21-23.6.1980, 25-27.11.1983, 14- 16.11.1986, 17-19.11.1989, in July 1992 and on 8-9.7.1995. At the last congress Hasan Biber was elected as chairman, Raif Kilic as general secretary, Hasan Sadi Yükselbas as finance secretary and Erdinc Cakir as education and organization secretary.

The union is organized mainly in the public sector, and has criticized at various times the division of employees as workers and civil servants.

The union adopted its present name in 1992.

It has branches in Istanbul, Mersin, Izmir, Iskenderun, Samsun, Bandirma, Trabzon, Derince, Antalya and publishes a periodical called „Liman-Is Dergi".

The union reported 9,718 members (267 of them women) in 1970, 6,000 (90 women) in 1975, 9,440 (640 women) in 1979, 8,209 in 1995 and 7,691 in 1997.

© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | November 1998

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