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Labour union founded in Beycuma county, Zonguldak, on March 13, 1975 to operate in the agriculture, forestry, hunting and fishing branch; affiliated to Türk-Is and IFBWW (International Federation of Building and Wood Workers).

The union is based in Ankara and was founded by Hüseyin Cakmakli (temporary chairman), Hasan Arslan, Recep Duyar, Seyit Ali Avci, Durmus Terzi, Fikri Cakmakli, Asim Abasiz, Abdullah Köktürk, Nevzat Cakmak, Tayip Köze, Recep Akcamak, Hasan Akyüz and Hüseyin Sönmez. The union held general assembly meetings on: 12.3.1976, 9.1.1977 (extraordinary), 30.6.1979, 12.6.1982, 17-18.12.1983, 27- 28.12.1986, 1-2.1989, 15.10.1989 (extraordinary), 23-24.11.1991, 8-9.5.1993, 7-8.5.1994 and 10.6.1995 (extraordinary). At present the union board is composed of Sabahattin Güngör (chairman), Mehmet Kafes (general secretary), Mehmet Temel (finance secretary), Mustafa Ilidi (organization secretary) and Hasan Gücek (education secretary).

The union initially organized mainly in the various enterprises of the Directorate of Forestry. In the collective labour contracts that it signed, partial job security was provided for its members who were mostly seasonal workers with the clause that unemployed union members would be the first to be hired at the beginning of each season. Shop stewards obtained the right to participate in decisions concerning the organization of the work. Paid vacations and paid holidays of up to 6 days in cases of marriage, death, etc. were other gains of the workers.

From its foundation, the union was in a constant clash and competition with Tarim-Is, a union in the same branch. In 1985 the two unions signed a protocol for amalgamation, but „Orman-Is" later cancelled this agreement unilaterally.

The congress held on 23-24.11.1991 was cancelled by a ruling of the labour court on the grounds that the election of the delegates had been conducted unlawfully and various legal errors had been committed. The union remained under trusteeship for 13 months. During this time several leaders of the union were tried for fraud and embezzlement and 4 former board members received prison sentences.

The union has branches in Ankara, Antalya, Adana, Balikesir, Bolu, Bursa, Elazig, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, Kastamonu, Isparta, Kahramanmaras, Mugla, Samsun, Trabzon and Zonguldak, and publishes a monthly journal called „Orman-Is" and a newspaper called „Orman Iscisinin Sesi".

The union reported 110,650 permanent and temporary members in 1977, 117,670 (3,542 of them women) in 1982, 19,964 at end-1983, 63,479 in 1990, 83,257 at end-1995 and 84,808 in 1997.

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Labour union founded in Istanbul on September 6, 1950 to operate in the petroleum, chemicals and rubber branch, originally under the name of „Union of Fuel Oil Workers of Istanbul"; affiliated to Türk-Is and ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and Service Workers).

The union was founded by 23 workers including Fethi Bayer (temporary chairman), Muzaffer Güner, Ziya Tümerkan, A. Riza Sarikaya and Sabri Kilicli.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 14.1.1951, 30.12.1951, 28.12.1952, 7.3.1953 (extraordinary meeting), 7.3.1954 (extraordinary), 26.12.1954, 3.3.1956, 30.12.1956 (extraordinary), 6-7.9.1958, 22.12.1958 (extraordinary), 1- 4.4.1962, 19-20.2.1964, 19-21.7.1966, 26.1.1968, 9-11.4.1970, 9-11.4.1972, 14-19.4.1975, 18.11.1976, 24-27.4.1978, 6-9.9.1980, 1.9.1983 (extraordinary), 3-4.12.1983, 24-26.10.1986, 13-15.10.1989, 2-4.10.1992 and 6-7.10.1995. Currently the board is composed of Bayram Yildirim (chairman), Mustafa Cavdar (general secretary), Adnan Özcan (finance secretary), Yusuf Dogan (general organization and education secretary) and Selahattin Safak (administrative secretary).

In 1952 the union joined TIF (Federation of Vehicle Workers of Turkey) which was affiliated to Türk-Is. It also became a member of the League of Trade Unions of Istanbul. The union was affiliated to IFPW (International Federation of Petroleum Workers - later International Federation of Petroleum and Chemical Workers) between 1958 and 1978. In 1986 it became a member of ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and Service Workers).

The name of the union was changed to Türkiye Petrol Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Petroleum Workers of Turkey) in 1956, to Türkiye Petrol, Kimya ve Atom Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Petroleum, Chemicals and Atom Workers) in 1962, and to Türkiye Petrol, Kimya, Azot ve Atom Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Petroleum, Chemical, Nitrogen and Atom Workers of Turkey). In 1983 its name was amended once again as the Union of Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Workers of Turkey.

In 1956 Kocaeli Akaryakit Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Fuel Oil Workers of Kocaeli) and in 1957 Iskenderun Akaryakit Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Fuel Oil Workers of Iskenderun) abolished themselves and became branches of Petrol-Is.

Petrol-Is became acquainted with foreign trade unions and unionists already in the early 1950’s. The leaders of the union who participated in various meetings of the IFPW (International Federation of Petroleum Workers) and later those of the ICFTU were impressed by the union movement in USA. At the 9th congress they adopted exactly the name and emblem of a trade union in Denver, Colorado, and „American style of unionism" prevailed in the union.

After the military intervention in 1960, Petrol-Is took part in all campaigns for the legalization of the right of workers to strike, collective bargaining, etc. Petrol-Is Chairman Ziya Hepbir was one of the members of the organizing committee of the demonstration held in Sarachane on 31.12.1961.

In 1962 Kütahya Azot Sanayi Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Nitrogen Industry Workers of Kütahya) joined Petrol-Is.

In 1966 the union became one of the staunch supporters of the strike of the Pasabahce glass workers that was waged by Kristal-Is and is considered as one of the turning points in the history of the Turkish trade union movement.

The disciplinary committee of Türk-Is decided on 24.11.1966 to suspend Kristal-Is and Petrol-Is for 15 months, Maden-Is for six months, and Lastik-Is and Basin-Is for three months. This step was to foster the foundation of DISK. Nevertheless, Petrol-Is did not take part in the establishment of DISK on the grounds that a separate confederation would undermine the unity of workers.

In 1966 the union waged a strike at Petrol Ofisi, where the union was organized, when the employer rejected the demands of the workers for wage raises. The strike was postponed by the Council of Ministers 45 days later, first for a period of one month and then for two months. About this time a new general manager was appointed to Petrol Ofisi and the union decided to cancel the strike. 74 workers, most of them union leaders and shop stewards, who protested this decision were first moved to other jobs and then dismissed. A new collective labour contract was signed in April 1967 and the 74 workers were reinstated. It has been suggested that the unsuccessful strike at Petrol Ofisi was the reason for the resignation of chairman Ziya Hepbir from his office in January 1968.

In 1967 about 2 thousand members of the union waged an 86-day strike at Türkiye Petrolleri A.O.

At the congress in 1968 the non-partisan policy of Türk-Is was criticized and a social democratic approach was observed to gain weight in the union.

In 1969 Türk-Is affiliate Rafineri-Is (Union of Petroleum, Refinery, Chemical and Nitrogen Workers) and Gemlik Viskoz Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Viscose Workers of Gemlik) joined Petrol-Is.

In 1970 Petrol-Is members took massive part in the workers’ demonstrations on June 15 and 16 despite the opposition of the leadership and Yasar Yildirim, a union member employed at Mutlu Akü Factory, was shot and killed by the police forces.

In spite of their opposition to the actions undertaken by workers on June 15-16, 1970, four Türk-Is affiliates in which the social democrats dominated prepared a paper entitled the „Turkish Labour Movement and our Unions in the Turkey of 1971", i.e. the so- called „Report of the Four". The report, which was submitted to the board of Türk-Is on 14.1.1971 by Ismail Topkar (Petrol-Is), Abdullah Bastürk (Genel-Is), Feridun Sakir Ögünc (Deniz Ulas-Is) and Halit Misirlioglu (Yol-Is) criticized Türk-Is leadership and alleged that the a non-partisan policy was nothing but a deception. Petrol-Is participated afterwards in the report prepared by 12 Türk-Is unions and joined the efforts to found a new political party, but this attempt remained fruitless.

On 5.12.1971 Petrol-Is took part in the formation of the „Council of Social Democrat Unionists", against which Türk-Is leadership adopted a hostile attitude.

In 1971 Azot-Is (Union of Nitrogen Industry Workers), Agir Kimya-Is (Union of Heavy Chemical Industry Workers of Turkey) and Aksen (Union of Workers Employed at Akdeniz Fertiliser Industry), and in 1972 Kip-Is (Union of Workers Employed at the Istinye Match Factory) joined Petrol-Is.

In the early 1970’s the leadership of the union took a critical view of the military coup of March 12, 1971 and the subsequent conservative coalition governments, but supported the intervention in Cyprus.

Local organizations of Petrol-Is supported the one-day general strike called by DISK on 16.4.1976, and in 1977 Petrol-Is participated for the first time in the First of May celebrations under its own banner.

In the late 1970’s the union espoused cooperation between different labour unions. One of its members was killed by the police while returning from the funeral of Kemal Türkler, the chairman of the DISK affiliate Maden-Is who was killed by fascists. In Malatya and Adana four other Petrol-Is members became victims of terror. In the meantime the union leadership announced that they had adopted the „principle of democratic class and mass unionism" and voiced from time to time severe criticism on the attitude of Türk-Is leaders.

After the military coup in 1980, Petrol-Is Chairman Cevdet Selvi was detained for almost three months because of an article that he had written in a newspaper on severance pay. The headquarters and several branches of the union were closed for various periods by the military authorities, and at least 174 Petrol-Is members were arrested, some of them sat in prison for up to four years. The union leaders were also indicted on the grounds that they had campaigned against the Constitution of 1982, but the case ended with acquittal.

In 1983 Chairman Cevdet Selvi was nominated to the parliament by the social democratic SODEP, but the National Security Council vetoed his candidacy. In 1987, however, he was elected to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

In 1983 and 1984 four other unions (Mebis, Petlas-Is, Kimya-Is and Türk-Is affiliated Kaucuk-Is) joined Petrol-Is.

In the early 1990’s the union suffered a loss in membership due to massive layoffs in the branch, as well as the resignation of some members from Petrol-Is in order to organize in Laspetkim-Is.

In 1994 the chairman of the union, Münir Ceylan, was sentenced to a 20-month prison term because of an article which he published in a newspaper.

The union has branches in Adana, Ankara, Bandirma, Batman, Bursa, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Eskisehir, Kirikkale, Kütahya, Kocaeli, Kocaeli-Körfez, Kocaeli-Gebze, Iskenderun, Istanbul, Istanbul Anadolu, Istanbul Rumeli, Istanbul Bogazici, Izmir, Izmir-Aliaga, Malatya, Mersin, Samsun, Sakarya, Yalova and Yarimca.

Petrol-Is established in 1984 a research department which has published numerous books and booklets up to the present. It also publishes regularly a yearbook.

The union reported 351 members in 1951, 10,000 in 1962, 9,500 in 1966, 48,594 in 1970, 52,959 in 1971, 32,178 in 1974, 43,831 in 1978, 32,047 in 1980, 664,549 in 1984, 81,305 in 1995, 81,953 in 1996 and 82,776 in 1997.

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Labour union founded in Izmir on December 9, 1961 to operate in the health branch, originally under the name of Izmir Saglik Iscileri ve Müstahdemleri Sendikasi (Union of Health Workers and Employees in Izmir); affiliated to Türk-Is and PSI (International Federation of Public Service Workers).

The union is based in Ankara and was founded by Abdullah Uzunalioglu (temporary chairman), Abdullah Sahin, Osman Kiray, Hüseyin Gürcay, Hasan Celik, Ismail Cesit, Ali Tanis, Hakki Bidav, Mahmut Büyüktufan and Nuri Kuscu.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 26.4.1962, 30.9.1962 (extraordinary), 14.12.1963, 10.1.1965, 31.1.1966, 11.9.1966 (extraordinary), 4.2.1968, 7-8.3.1970, 21-22.4.1973, 7.7.1974 (extraordinary), 3-4.4.1976, 5.6.1977, 8.11.1981, 26.7.1983 (extraordinary), 19-20.11.1983, 10-12.10.1986, in 1987, on 11-12.11.1989, 26-27.9.1992 and 22-23.7.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Mustafa Basoglu (chairman), Savas Benli (deputy chairman), M. Ali Tanriverdi (general secretary) and Muzaffer Demir (finance secretary).

The union decided to affiliate to Türk-Is in 1962, and moved its headquarters to Ankara in 1965.

The union began to expand to other parts of the country in 1963 and by 1964 it had opened 12 branches in various cities.

In 1965 when it appealed to the management of SSK (Social Insurance Institution) to start collective bargaining, SSK replied that SSK employees were civil servants, and consequently not covered by the Trade Union Act. The union, however, took the matter to court and obtained a ruling to the contrary, thus signing the first collective labour contract at SSK.

In 1965 the Istanbul-based Türk Saglik-Is union abolished itself to join Saglik-Is. However, in 1968 certain legal problems arose concerning this unification. The former general secretary of Türk Saglik-Is, Halil Hayta, declared that his union had convened a congress in April 1968 and retracted the decision to unite with Saglik-Is. The labour court passed a ruling confirming the dissolution of Türk Saglik-Is. At the Saglik-Is congress in 1970, Halil Hayta and two of his friends were expelled from the union. Halil Hayta later founded the Tüm Has-Is union.

In 1971 Saglik-Is was among the unions that signed the „Report of the Twelve" that was submitted as a criticism to Türk-Is leadership. However, the union declared afterwards that it did not have any connection with the report, but that 3 board members who participated in the meetings for the preparation of the report had acted on their own behalf. The declaration defended the „non-partisan" policy of Türk-Is and said that those in opposition had not comprehended this policy fully.

The report to the congress in 1973 supported the military coup in 1971, and stated that further to „hindering the red threat against the country, the intervention has ensured the protection of our national unity and democracy".

The change made in the industrial branches in 1973 had a negative effect on the union, moving the military hospitals to the „national defense" and the hot springs to the „accommodation and entertainment facilities" branches.

In 1974 and 1975 Saglik-Is had disputes with the SSK administration over the implementation of the collective labour contract. Although these problems were partly solved through the mediation of Sadik Side, then the Minister of Social Insurance, SSK retaliated later by changing the status of some of its employees to civil servant.

In 1977 the chairman of the union, Mustafa Basoglu, was elected to the parliament on the Justice Party ticket. Mustafa Basoglu spent efforts in the parliament to resolve the matter of the worker vs. civil servant categorization and even staged a three-day sit-in before the parliament building in August 1978.

In the meantime the union criticized Türk-Is for not attaching sufficient attention to this issue of status.

In December 1980 Mustafa Basoglu was appointed as a member of the Supreme Council of Arbitration that was set up by a law enacted by the military regime.

At the general assembly meeting in 1981, the leadership of the union defended the military coup of 1980 and accused „certain workers organizations outside Türk-Is" of provoking this coup.

The report to the congress in 1986, however, said that the major problems of workers had their roots in the Constitution of 1982 and the new labour legislation of 1983, and that the difficulties which Saglik-Is were experiencing originated from the „suspension of democracy".

In 1987 the union Tüm Has-Is passed the 10% membership barrier and became a rival for Saglik-Is in this branch. Saglik-Is publications claimed that this union „had attempted to disrupt the unity in our industrial branch", but that it had been rendered harmless. Another union in the same branch, Hak-Is affiliate Öz Saglik-Is, was also accused of trying to divide the workers.

The union publishes a periodical called „Yeni Adim" and has 27 branches: Ankara, Adana No.1, Adana No.2, Elazig, Bursa, Balikesir, Eskisehir, Erzurum, Diyarbakir, Antalya, Aydin, Kütahya, Gaziantep, Iskenderun, Trabzon, Sakarya, Mersin, Istanbul, Istanbul Kadiköy, Izmit, Zonguldak, Karamürsel, Samsun, Sivas, Kayseri, Konya and Izmir.

It reported 17,134 members in 1971, 26,371 in 1974, 12,800 in 1981, 15,795 in 1995 and 15,381 in 1997.

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Labour union founded in Izmit on February 9, 1952 to operate in the paper branch, originally under the name of Makine ve Teknik Isciler Sendikasi (Union of Machinery and Technical Workers); affiliated to Türk-Is and ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and Service Workers).

The union was founded by Habib Seval, Sabahattin Istanbullu, Ihsan Yonter, Hamdi Cakir, Ahmet Gürdal, Kemal Gülener, Arif Cagiran, Cevdet Bulut, Hasan Akar, Yahya Danabay, Ismail Sevinc and Niyazi Buyrul.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 23.7.1955, 31.3.1956, 7.9.1957, 13.9.1958, 24.10.1959, 29.4.1961, 13.1.1963, 10.10.1964, 30.7.1967, 20.7.1969 (extraordinary), 20.6.1971 (extraordinary), 2.7.1972, 27.7.1975, 30.7.1978, 4.10.1981, 10.8.1983 (extraordinary), 24.12.1983, 28.12.1985 (extraordinary), 22-23.11.1986, 16-17.12.1989, 6.6.1992 (extraordinary) and 21-22.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Mithat Sari (chairman), Ergin Alsan (deputy chairman), Müslüm Ocak (general secretary), Aydin Vardan (finance secretary), Ismail Kilinc (organization secretary) and Davut Bozkan (education secretary).

The union was first organized in SEKA, the state-owned paper and cardboard mills. It adopted its present name in 1969. In 1970 Kagit-Is and in 1974 SEKA-IS, two unions in the same branch, joined Selüloz-Is.

In 1970 the leadership of the union refused to take part in the nation-wide 2-hour walkout called by Türk-Is on the grounds that a work stoppage in SEKA would lead to irreparable losses.

In 1988 when the collective negotiations dragged for a very long period, 10,200 workers at the SEKA enterprises staged various actions for 62 days, but as the negotiations ended in dispute a strike was waged between 6.9.1988-15.1.1989. In January 1991 SEKA workers again went on a strike, and when the action was postponed by the government, they organized a 48-hour sit-in.

In 1993 the union called strikes in three private enterprises, involving a total of 700 workers. These strikes did not last long and ended with the signing of collective labour contracts.

Like other unions organized mainly in state enterprises, Selüloz-Is strongly protested against the privatizations in the 1990’s, and also criticized the Türk-Is leadership who accepted the request of the government in 1994 for the postponement of the raises obtained with the collective labour contracts.

The union has branches in Izmit, Balikesir, Afyon, Caycuma, Dalaman, Giresun, Kocaeli, Kastamonu, Istanbul, Izmir and Silifke, and representative offices in Cumra, Bastas, Baysalman, Eltas, Kagit Torba, Meteksan and Copikas. It publishes a periodical called „Selüloz-Is".

The union reported 9,052 members in 1971, 10,042 in 1973, 12,100 in 1977, 12,649 in 1981, 19,126 in 1988, 14,213 in 1990, 15,795 in 1992, 16,777 in 1994, 16,866 in 1996 and 16,761 in 1997.

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Labour union founded in Alpullu county, Kirklareli, on February 4, 1963 to operate in the sugar branch; affiliated to Türk-Is, UITA (International Confederation of Food and Related Industry Workers) and IUF (International Federation of Food and Related Industry Workers).

The union was founded by 18 unionists, including Hamdi Güvenen (temporary chairman), Mustafa Süzen and Halis Özergene, who represented the unions affiliated to Türkiye Seker Sanayii Isci Sendikalari Federasyonu (Federation of Sugar Industry Workers of Turkey).

In accordance with the organizational programme of Türk-Is, in January 1963 the representatives of the unions affiliated to the above-mentioned federation convened to prepare the charter of a national type of union and the union was formally established on 4.2.1963. Soon afterwards all of its members resigned from the federation to join Seker-Is and the federation abolished itself on 3.5.1963.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 6-7.7.1963, 28- 31.7.1965, 28-31.7.1967, 16.4.1968 (extraordinary), 31.7- 2.8.1969, 9-12.8.1971, 6-9.8.1974, 15.1.1975 (extraordinary), 3-6.8.1977, 18-21.8.1980, 18-19.6.1983, 24-27.11.1983, 19.1.1986 (extraordinary), 6-9.11.1986, 2-5.11.1989 (extraordinary), 6-8.11.1992 and 3-5.11.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Ömer Celik (chairman), Vahap Polat (vice-chairman), Fethi Tekin (general secretary), Alaaddin Aktas (finance secretary) and Erdogan Pehlivanlioglu (education and organization secretary).

In 1971 the chairman of the union, Sadik Side, made a speech in support of the military intervention saying that „thanks to the Turkish army the internal enemy had been defeated and the unity of the nation was preserved". Sadik Side was later elected as general secretary of Türk-Is and served in the government for one year as the Minister of Social Security prior to the general elections in 1973. Sadik Side returned to the post of Minister of Social Security after the military coup in 1980, this time for three years, during which time he became the target of severe criticisms from unionists.

In 1986 the Ministry of Labour started preparations to combine the sugar and food branches, but this adjustment was prevented through the efforts of Seker-Is leaders.

In 1989 when collective negotiations with the employer union representing the sugar industries came to a standstill, Seker-Is members waged various actions including reporting sick collectively, work slow-downs and sit-ins. The agreement was signed about three months later, in June 1989.

Seker-Is members again reverted to job actions in 1993 to protest the employer’s attitude in the collective negotiations. In 1994 the union supported the Türk-Is decision to organize ongoing actions against the austerity package adopted by the government on April 5.

In August 1995 the union waged a strike at 25 sugar factories and related plants of the Turkish Sugar Company.

The union has branches in Afyon, Agri, Alpullu, Amasya, Ankara, Bor, Burdur, Carsamba, Corum, Elazig, Elbistan, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Eregli, Ercis, Ilgin, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Konya, Kütahya, Malatya, Mus, Sakarya, Susurluk, Turhal and Usak. It publishes a monthly journal called „Seker-Is Dergi".

The union reported 10,000 members in 1965, 17,145 in 1974, 23,565 in 1976, 29,553 in 1979, 26,544 in 1983, 37,867 in 1988, 39,100 in 1989, 40,867 in 1992, 39,329 in 1994, 37,941 in 1996 and 35,410 in 1997.

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

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