Page Top



Labour union founded in Istanbul on March 23, 1952 to operate in the land transport branch, originally under the name of Elektrik Gaz ve Motorlu Tasit Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Electricity, Gas and Motor Vehicle Workers); affiliated to Türk-Is, ITF (International Transport Workers Federation) and ICFTU (International Confederation of Free Trade Unions).

The union was founded by 21 workers including Mehmet Inhanli (temporary chairman), Nami Isinbark, Akif Dizikara, Turhan Güzen, Ziya Hepbir and Lütfi Yilmaz.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 14.12.1952, 1.8.1954, 18.3.1956, 8.3.1959, 26.3.1961, 11.2.1962, 23.2.1964, 23-25.2.1966, 23-25.2.1968, 25-27.2.1970, 12.1.1972, 15- 16.2.1975, 19.3.1978, 25.4.1982, in 1984, on 14-15.6.1986, 4-5.1989, 24-25.10.1992, 4-5.11.1995 and 7-8.6.1997. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Sabri Topcu (chairman), Yurdal Senol (general secretary), Mehmet Gönültas (finance secretary), Hüseyin Seyrek (education secretary), Ali Bakir (organization secretary) and Abuzer Polat, Cemal Bereket, Ramazan Atas and Ali Altunay as members.

The union was born through the unification of two unions: Istanbul Elektrik ve Motorlu Tasit Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Electricity and Motor Vehicle Workers of Istanbul) and Istanbul Bölgesi Elektrik Gaz ve Motorlu Tasit Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Electricity, Gas and Motor Vehicle Workers in the Istanbul Region). The representatives of these two unions met on March 23, 1952 to form the new union and after electing the temporary board from among themselves took an oath to the effect that they would never allow themselves to be used for political aims in the union, but serve only the holy cause of the workers.

Starting from its establishment, the union affiliated to TIF (Federation of Transport Workers of Turkey) which was a Türk-Is member.

In 1954 the word „water" was added to the name of the union, so that workers employed in water-works could join the union.

Soon after its foundation the union began to conduct activities to promote the rights of workers. It prepared draft resolutions for reforms in the labour legislation and forwarded these to the parliament, succeeded in reducing the working hours of the guards and concierges at IETT (Istanbul Electricity Tramcar Tunnel Administration), and provided assistance to its members who suffered labour accidents.

In the meantime, however, disputes arose between the union leaders for political reasons (competition between the Democratic Party and the Republican People’s Party) and some members were expelled from the board. The Governor of Istanbul and the IETT management plotted in order to force the union chairman Mehmet Inhanli to resign. These conflicts came to a head at the congress in 1956. Some delegates revealed that Inhanli could not participate at the general assembly meeting because of the pressures from the Governor’s Office. A group was chosen to bring Inhanli from his home to the meeting, but as soon as Inhanli came he was seized by the police and taken to the police station. The delegates, however, chose Inhanli as chairman.

The fighting inside the union did not subside, however, and led to a split and the foundation of the Istanbul Elektrik Tramvay Tünel Teknik Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Electricity, Tramcar, Tunnel Technical Workers of Istanbul) in August 1957. This union was short-lived and abolished itself in 1960.

After the military intervention in 1960, chairman Inhanli and two other leaders of TUMTIS, Hilmi Gürbüz and Feruzan Engin, were arrested and charged on the grounds that they had tried to sabotage the Istanbul Electricity Plant. They remained in prison for over one year and were during that period fired from their jobs, together with several other leaders of the union.

In the early 1960’s frictions continued among the new leaders of the union and criticisms were directed to chairman Celal Aycetin alleging that he was not a union member at the time he was elected. There were rumours that some leaders were trying to establish a new union. Some of these board members were expelled and Ramazan Kurthan became the new chairman.

The union took part in the demonstrations held in Karadeniz Ereglisi and Ankara in 1962 to condemn communism, and in 1963 provided financial support to the strike waged by Maden-Is at the Kavel factory.

In 1964 the regulations on industrial branches changed and IETT employees were forced to leave TUMTIS and found their own union EGIS (Union of Electricity and Gas Workers).

At the congress in 1964 the name of the union was changed to its present form in accordance with the decision to convert it into a national and central union, organizing all workers employed in the land transport sector. At this congress Mehmet Inhanli was reelected to chairmanship.

In May 1964 a meeting was held under the auspices of Türk-Is to combine the various Türk-Is affiliates in this sector and to abolish TIF (Federation of Vehicle Workers of Turkey). Later in the same year the unions of motor vehicle workers in the Aegean Region and Ankara, and in 1966 an Istanbul-based union founded by the former chairman Ramazan Kurthan joined TUMTIS.

In the early 1970’s the union suffered severe setbacks. In 1973 the Ministry of Labour decided that the authorized union in this industrial branch was TUIS (Union of Transport Workers of Turkey). While the repercussions of this ruling still continued, a new regulation on industrial branches was put into force in 1974. According to this, municipal bus services were excluded from the land transport branch and included in the general services branch. TUMTIS leaders claimed that this adjustment was planned by Abdullah Bastürk, chairman of the rival Genel-Is union and a member of the parliament from CHP. This change caused TUMTIS to lose about 14 thousand members.

In order not to leave the general services sector totally to Genel-Is and the other unions, in 1972 the deputy chairman of TUMTIS Hüseyin Pala was assigned the task of founding a new union called Türkiye Genel-Is (Union of Municipal and General Service Workers of Turkey) in this branch.

At its congress in 1975 the union decided to transfer some of its assets to Türkiye Genel-Is and to assist this union in all respects, since a large number of former TUMTIS members were now organized in this union. The long-time chairman Mehmet Inhanli resigned at this congress and was replaced by Hüseyin Pala.

TUMTIS leadership praised the military intervention in 1980, their only criticism being that it was late by a couple of years.

In 1983 Hüseyin Pala and two other board members were also elected to the leadership of Belediye-Is. The Ministry of Labour informed the unionists that they could not act as leaders in two different unions under the new trade union act, and finally they had to resign from their positions in TUMTIS.

In 1984 Türkiye Ulastirma Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Transport Workers of Turkey) and Özgür Ulas-Is (Free Union of Transport Workers of Turkey) joined TUMTIS.

In 1989 after the election of a new board a significant change occurred in the policies of TUMTIS. The activity report to the congress on 4-5.11.1989 described the period after the military coup as „fascistic" and referred to the historical resistance traditions of the working class. The workers actions in the spring of 1989 were described as a protest against both the government and the obsequious style of trade unionism.

After 1989 the union waged strikes in many workplaces, the most noteworthy being the long-lasting strike at Yurtici Kargo, where over 800 workers were fired.

In January 1991 TUMTIS participated in the workers action organized by Türk-Is and took an active part in the First of May celebrations in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

In 1992, DISK affiliated Nakliyat-Is decided to join TUMTIS, but this amalgamation could not be realized when the labour court ruled in favour of an objection to the unification.

The union has 5 branches in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana and Bursa and one representative agency in Gaziantep.

It publishes a periodical called „TUMTIS Isci Gücü".

It reported 6,000 members in 1955, 15,000 in 1967, 21,453 in 1970, 16,912 in 1972, 14,888 in 1979, 12,123 in 1980, 4,575 in 1988, 5,488 in 1990, 6,346 in 1992, 7,103 in 1994 and 8,719 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded on July 20, 1970 to operate in the national defense branch; affiliated to Türk-Is and PSI (International Federation of Public Service Workers).

The roots of the union go back to an umbrella organization called the Federation of Labour Unions of Military Enterprises of Turkey that was founded on 30.1.1954 by five unions. The Federation expanded over the years with the participation of other unions, but by the late 1960’s internal competition grew and some unions began to break away from the organization. As a result, a decision was adopted to convert the Federation into a national type of union. Türk-Is chairman Seyfi Demirsoy, members of the last board of the Federation and representatives of 22 affiliated unions assembled on 20.7.1970 to found Türk Harb-Is.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 28-30.1.1971, 25.1.1974, 11.3.1975 (extraordinary), 12-14.1.1977, 13-15.1.1980, 16-18.1.1983, 2-3.12.1983, 13.11.1986, 17-19.11.1989, 30.10- 1.11.1992 and 20-22.10.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Izzet Cetin (chairman), Ahmet Ates and Nejat Eren (vice-chairmen) and Nuri Agcicek (general secretary), Yasar Evci (finance secretary) and Alaattin Karahan (education and organization secretary).

Harb-Is did not support the report, criticising Türk-Is policies, which 4 unions submitted to the leadership of Türk-Is in 1971, but was among the twelve unions that prepared another report a few months later. The explanation of the union for its participation in the second report was that the second report differed from the first in that it looked for solutions within the framework of Türk-Is.

In 1975 Izmir Nato-Is union abolished itself to join Harb-Is.

In 1976 the union organized an international symposium in collaboration with DISK affiliate Genel-Is and PSI on the „rights and freedoms of workers". Nevertheless, the union criticised severely another DISK affiliate in its own branch, Aster-Is, designating the latter as a „pro-Moscow union" creating problems with its erroneous attitudes.

The leadership of the union defended the military intervention in 1980 stating that it signified „the repair of democracy" and had provided „an atmosphere of peace and security". They also regarded the closure of the unions „which had taken part in anarchistic actions" as justified, and considered the temporary suspension of the right to collective bargaining as a necessary outcome of the existing conditions. However, the collective labour contract enforced by the Supreme Council of Arbitration for the period between 1982-1985 was so unsatisfactory as to provoke a protest from the union who declared that „this document can under no conditions be termed as a collective labour contract".

In 1987 the union found the agreement between Türk-Is and the government concerning wage raises unacceptable. In December that year union members organized a march and a demonstration to protest the repressions and the anti-democratic practices of the American employer at the Incirlik air base in Adana. The action was supported by various other unions and political parties.

In 1988 the leaders of the union went on a 32-hour hunger strike when the government refused to increase the wages of the 38 thousand workers at national defense enterprises.

The report to the congress in 1989 revealed a change in the views of the union. The leadership maintained in this report that the military interventions in 1969, 1971 and 1980 were made not because of any misdeeds on the part of the ordinary people, but in order to promote the interests of international financial capital, and that IMF and other financial institutions were instrumental in these coups.

Between 1989-1992 there were massive layoffs at the so-called foreign military workplaces such as NATO, VBR and TUSLOG, where the union was organized. The union organized a demonstration in Adana on 20.2.1990 against these firings. This was followed by a demonstration in Sinop, the first such action by workers in that town.

The union gave full support to the job action organized by Türk-Is on 3.1.1991, stopping work entirely in many enterprises owned by the armed forces.

A dispute arose in 1992 inside the union about the collective negotiations at foreign military workplaces, leading to a complete change of the leadership at the congress later in the year. The new officers of the union declared that they differ from the former leadership in the emphasis they put on involving the members in the work of the union.

The union has branches in Adana, Afyon, Ankara, Balikesir, Bor, Corlu, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gelibolu, Gölcük, Iskenderun, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Konya, Sakarya, Sinop and Sivas and representative offices in Samsun, Mersin, Bartin, Karadeniz Ereglisi and Malatya.

The union publishes a journal called „Harb-Is Dergisi"

It reported 26,303 members (1,005 of them women) in 1970, 34,119 (1,892 women) in 1980, 41,589 in 1992, 35,948 in 1995 and 33,178 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Ankara on August 2, 1964 to operate in the commerce, office, education and fine arts branch, originally under the name of Türkiye Tarim Kredi Kooperatifleri Personel Sendikasi (Union of the Staff of Turkish Agricultural Credit Cooperatives); affiliated to Türk-Is.

The union was founded by 20 workers including Mustafa Ozansoy (temporary chairman), H. Ibrahim Capan, Necati Öncü, M. Ali Kiroglu and Necdet Tetik.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 17.7.1965, 21.7.1967, 17.7.1969, 16.7.1971, 20.7.1973, 7.9.1974 (extraordinary), 29.5.1976, 28.6.1979, 13.11.1981, 29.7.1983 (extraordinary), 17.12.1983, 26.2.1984 (extraordinary), 6.12.1986, 11-12.11.1989, 24-25.11.1992 and 17-18.6.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Ahmet Balaman (chairman), Harun Resit Artan (deputy chairman), Hasan Tezgel (general secretary), Yücel Yavuz (finance secretary), Servet Demir (education secretary), Yasar Kamil Kültekin (research secretary), Kamil Odaci (organization secretary), F. Hikmet Cetik (legislation and collective bargaining secretary) and Ahmet Karaman (social affairs secretary).

The charter of the union stated that all wage-earners above the age of 16 who had been employed at least 3 years at the agricultural credit cooperatives could become members.

The union affiliated to Türk-Is in 1969. It adopted its present name at the congress in 1973.

In 1979 Türk-Koop-Sen, a union in the same branch, joined Koop-Is. In 1981 its charter was amended to include the banking and insurance branch.

In 1984 two independent unions, Hür Büro-Is based in Izmir and Büro-Sen based in Ankara, abolished themselves to become branches of Koop-Is. A few months later the independent Ofis-Is (Union of Office Workers) followed suit.

Particularly during the 1980’s efforts were made to unite Koop-Is and Tezkoop-Is, another Türk-Is affiliate, but the two unions have not been able to reach an agreement.

The union has Ankara No.1 and No.2, Istanbul No.1, Izmir No.1, Antalya, Balikesir, Gaziantep, Izmir Region, Kayseri, Konya, Kütahya, Malatya, Mersin, Sakarya, Samsun, Sivas, Tekirdag and Trabzon branches.

It publishes a monthly bulletin called „Koop-Is Bülten".

It reported 4,946 members in 1974, 3,742 in 1975, 22,386 in 1980, 32,912 in 1988, 33,412 in 1990, 36,808 in 1992, 38,877 in 1994, 39,443 in 1996 and 41,699 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Ankara on October 24, 1973 to operate in the metal branch; affiliated to Türk-Is, IMF (International Metal Workers Federation) and AMIF (Federation of Eurasian Metal Workers).

The union was founded by 23 metal workers including Enver Kaya, A. Aydin Özeren, Fehmi Isiklar, Riza Kurdakul, Talat Akpinar, Mustafa Özbek, Ilhan Dalkilic and Ismet Cantekin.

Türk Metal held general assembly meetings on: 20.11.1974, 8- 9.11.1975,, 31.5-1.6.1980, 3.10.1982 (extraordinary), 20.7.1983 (extraordinary), 24-25.11.1983, 24.10.1986, 17- 19.11.1989, 16-18.10.1992 and 27-29.10.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Mustafa Özbek (chairman), Behzat Erdal (deputy chairman), Özbek Karakus (general secretary), Süleyman Erdinc (finance secretary) and A. Refik Ustün (organization secretary).

The union was a continuation of Türkiye Metal-Is Federasyonu (Federation of Metal Workers of Turkey) and affiliated to Türk-Is immediately after it was established.

The union encountered financial difficulties after its foundation on account of the debts of the Federation of Metal Workers to other Türk-Is unions. When the union was unable to honour these debts, Yol-Is levied a distress upon its telephones while Harb-Is confiscated its cars. In the meantime the union had problems to find funds for supporting the striking workers at the Celik Halat and Türk Kablo factories. These strikes were concluded by means of a collective labour contract after three months.

At about the same time Fehmi Isiklar who was one of the founders of the union resigned and founded another union, Cagdas Metal-Is, which became a new rival for Türk-Metal.

The union became organized in 1976 at the Aluminium Plant in Seydisehir, where about 8 thousand workers were employed. In Bursa, however, the union faced competition from DISK affiliate Maden-Is in organizing the workers at the automobile plants in the region. This rivalry led in some instances to serious clashes, with the result that two union members lost their lives and several were wounded.

In the late 1970’s Türk Metal encountered competition from Maden-Is also in Seydisehir and criticised the then ruling social democratic government for backing the „leftist" DISK union against the „nationalist" Türk Metal.

In 1982 the union suspended its IMF membership on the grounds that IMF had designated the military coup in 1980 as „anti- democratic". At the congress in October 1983 chairman Mustafa Özbek declared that the military coup had „torn away the masks of those speaking of a confrontation between capital and labour" and had „initiated a period of national unity and harmony".

In 1983 Maden-Sen (Union of Metal, Machinery and Assembly Industry Workers) abolished itself because the new trade union legislation had exterminated its chances for collective bargaining and joined Türk Metal. In 1984 Bir Emek-Sen (Union of United Electric and Electronic Industry Workers based in Denizli) and in 1986 Celik-Is (also based in Denizli) merged with Türk Metal.

The union has 23 branches: Bursa No: 1, Bursa Central, Denizli, Manisa, Istanbul, Cerkezköy, Cankiri, Bilecik, Bolu, Karadeniz Eregli, Istanbul Anatolian side, Aksaray, Adana, Ankara No.1, Ankara, Eskisehir, Gebze, Izmir Central, Kayseri, Kirikkale Central, Marmara Region Central, Sakarya, Samsun and Seydisehir Central branches, and representative offices in Altindag/Izmir, Gemlik, Kartal/Istanbul and Konya. The union publishes a monthly periodical called „Türk-Metal"

It reported 18,000 members in 1975, 45,702 in 1976, 56,208 in 1977, 60,400 in 1979, 63,860 in 1980, 123,744 in 1987, 200,000 in 1994 and 217,585 in 1996 and 226,657 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Ankara on November 28, 1963 to operate in the cement, earthen-ware and glass branch, originally under the name of Türkiye Cimento, Seramik ve Keramik Sanayii Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Cement, Ceramic and Pottery Industry Workers of Union); affiliated to Türk-Is, ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and Service Workers) and IFBWW (International Federation of Building and Wood Workers).

The union was founded by a group of 19 unionists, including Hasan Türkay, Süreyya Gezer, Cüneyt Sentürk and Seyfettin Erkol, who did not approve of the decision of the Adana Cimento ve Toprak Sanayii Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Cement and Earthen-Ware Industry Workers of Adana) to affiliate to Yapi-Is.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 19.1.1964, 17.12.1965, 19-21.1.1968, 29.3.1970, 19.1.1972, 5-7.12.1974, 13-15.4.1977, 4-7.7.1979, 28-29.4.1981, 16.7.1983 (extraordinary), 26-27.11.1983, 2-3.2.1985 (extraordinary), 15-16.11.1986, 2- 10.9.1989, 4-5.1992 and 27-28.5.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Tamer Eralan (chairman), Mehmet Selcuk (general secretary), Saban Cakmak (finance secretary), Seref Tatar (education secretary) and Erdem Talu (organization secretary).

The union affiliated to Türk-Is in 1964. The same year Seramik ve Toprak Sanayii Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Ceramic and Earthen-Ware Industry Workers) decided to abolish itself and joined the Kütahya branch of Cimse-Is.

Union chairman Hasan Türkay was elected to the parliament in 1965, and again in 1969, on the Justice Party ticket.

TOCIS-IS (Union of Cement, Stone, Earthen-Ware and Ceramic Industry Workers of Turkey) amalgamated with Cimse-Is in 1968, and in 1980 Ege Bölgesi Toprak Sanayii Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Earthen-Ware Industry Workers in the Aegean Region) joined Cimse-Is.

The union adopted its present name in 1983 after the glass sector was included in this industrial branch by the new regulations.

Between 1981-1983 the union experienced internal disputes which ended with the expulsion of the chairman Veli Eker, and the resignation of deputy chairman Süreyya Gezer from the union. The activity report to the congress in 1983 accused Veli Eker of conducting private talks with employers, in his capacity as member of the Supreme Council of Arbitration, and deleting from collective labour contracts the rights which the workers had won over the years.

After 1983 a serious competition arose between Cimse-Is and Kristal-Is, another Türk-Is affiliate in the same branch. Both unions were able, however, to pass the minimum limit of 10%, and each continued to organize the workers in the branches in which they operated prior to the adjustment of the industrial branches.

In 1985 the Can-based Bagimsiz Porselen ve Seramik Sanayii Iscileri Sendikasi (Independent Union of Porcelain and Ceramic Industry Workers) and in 1986 Elektro Metal-Is union, based in Istanbul, joined Cimse-Is.

Between 26.3.1990 and 12.6.1990 the union waged a strike involving 18 thousand workers at 22 cement factories.

The union has 42 branches and one representative office, and it publishes the monthly journal called „Cimse-Is Gazetesi".

The union reported 3,500 members in 1963, 11,000 in 1965, 20,000 in 1972, 30,961 in 1974, 45,500 in 1979, 35,416 in 1981, 44,381 in 1989, 52,890 in 1992, 58,737 in 1996 and 62,137 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Istanbul on August 30, 1983 to operate in the sea transport branch; affiliated to Türk-Is and ITF (International Transport Workers Federation).

Pursuant to the stipulation of Trade Union Act no.2821, Türk Deniz Ulas-Is Federasyonu (Federation of Unions of Workers Employed in Sea Transport) held a congress on 30.8.1983 and amended its charter so as to reorganize the federation as a national type of union, called Türkiye Denizciler Sendikasi. The members of the Federation, on the other hand, abolished themselves and became branches of the new union.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 3-4.11.1983, 22-23.11.1986, 26.11.1988 (extraordinary), 10-11.10.1992 and 1- 2.7.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Turan Uzun (chairman), Cemil Yeniay (vice-chairman), Davut Özcelik (vice-chairman), Hasan Pekdemir (general secretary), Hamit Kalkavan (organization secretary), Sükrü Akardas (education secretary) and Salih Mete (finance secretary).

The workers in this branch suffered serious setbacks after the military coup in 1980. In the same year the Supreme Council of Arbitration arbitrarily put into effect a new collective labour contract at DB Deniz Nakliyat AS (Denizcilik Bank Sea Transport Company) which meant, in effect, severe losses for the members of the union. The Council also extended the collective bargaining period from 24 months to 31 months 8 days. The clause in the former collective labour contract stating that „all the workers in this branch will benefit from the higher gains in the collective labour contracts signed at any other enterprise in the branch" was cancelled. The new legislation, on the other hand, removed five major enterprises where the union was organized to other industrial branches, thus decreasing its membership.

The union participated in the demonstrations organized by Türk-Is in 1990, and according to union reports only 1200 out of its 13 thousand members failed, because of massive repressions, to take part in the nation-wide work stoppage called by Türk-Is on 3.1.1991.

Particularly after 1988, the union concentrated in educational activities and organized a series of meetings to discuss the situation of the Turkish sea transport sector.

In 1991, Emin Kul who had served as the chairman of the union since its foundation was elected to the parliament on the Motherland Party ticket, and he served as Minister of Labour for about three months in 1996.

The union has never organized massive strikes and the number of such job actions decreased even further after 1983 with the new bans on strikes. In various workplaces, however, it has undertaken actions such as reporting sick collectively and work slow-down and organized demonstrations to force employers to accept the demands of the workers.

The union has 8 branches and publishes since 1989 a monthly periodical called „Rota".

It has reported 13,831 members as of January 1996 and 12,680 members as of July 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Istanbul on February 9, 1948 to operate in the leather branch, originally under the name of Union of Leather and Tannery Workers; affiliated to Türk-Is and ITGLWF (International Textile, Garments and Leather Workers Federation).

The union was founded by Abdul Sipahi (temporary chairman), Salim Demirtas, Osman Cil, Mustafa Özgül, Kamber Karabag, Ismail Dede, Ismail Piyade, Mehmet Tayis and Ismail Uygun.

The union held general assembly meetings in June 1949, 1950, 1953, 1954, 7-8.12.1963, 6.2.1965, 6.2.1966, 15.2.1968, 29.3.1970, 29-30.4.1972, 24-25.5.1975, 1978, 14.8.1983 (extraordinary), 3-4.12.1983, 12.1.1985 (extraordinary), 20- 21.9.1986, 18-19.11.1989, 3-4.10.1992 and 30.9-1.10.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Yener Kaya (chairman), Mehmet Albayrak (deputy chairman), Fevzi Deniz (general secretary), Ibrahim Kiziltan (finance secretary) and Hamza Bedirhanoglu (organization and education secretary), Ali Karabulut, Zülfü Aydogdu, Mirbey Güzel and Ahmet Yüksel as members.

The union affiliated to Türk-Is in 1952.

The chairman of Deri-Is, Mustafa Sahin, was a member of the organizing committee of the demonstration that was organized in Sarachane Square on 31.12.1960 pursuant to a decision adopted by the League of Labour Unions of Istanbul. The union participated in this action with approximately 20 thousand members.

The union experienced its first lockout in 1965, when 49 plants in Kazlicesme declared a lockout due to the failure of the collective negotiations that had gone on for 6 months. This lockout was protested by a silent march with the support of the 36 Türk-Is affiliated unions on 29.4.1965. The agreement was finally signed on 20.5.1965.

In 1970, Türkiye Deri Mamulleri Sanayii Iscileri Sendikasi (Union of Leather Product Workers) joined Deri-Is and became its Anatolian Central Branch.

In May 1974 the employer union in Kazlicesme again declared a lockout as a retaliation to a strike that had continued for 65 days. The lockout was terminated through the mediation of the Minister of Labour and the Chairman of Türk-Is.

In late 1975 the strike and lockout called at the Beykoz Shoe and Leather Plant lasted for 60 days. 17 workers were dismissed after the strike in which 2000 workers took part, and efforts to reinstate them remained unproductive. In 1978 the union waged strikes in two workplaces, one in Izmir and one in Erzurum, that continued for six months. In July 1985 1000 workers took part in a 10-day strike at 30 plants in Kazlicesme. In 1987 about 1500 workers waged a strike between June 24 and October 29 against a threatened lockout by employers at 124 enterprises in Kazlicesme. During the strike the union organized a demonstration at the Bayrampasa Square, which was the first workers demonstration after the military coup in 1980.

The union publishes a periodical named „Deri-Is" since December 1985.

It has 8 branches (Anadolu/Beykoz, Van, Sarikamis, Tercan, Tuzla, Izmir, Beyoglu and Corlu) and 2 representative agencies (Sümer Holding A.S./Canakkale Sentetik Deri Isletmesi and Bursa).

The union reported 6,000 members in 1970, 12,774 in 1988, 12.016 in 1990, 13,531 in 1992, 15,861 in 1994, 16,732 in 1996 and 16,838 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Istanbul on February 16, 1962 to operate in the communications branch, originally under the name of Türkiye PTT Mensuplari Sendikasi (Union of PTT Employees of Turkey); affiliated to Türk-Is and PTTI (International Federation of Post, Telegraph and Telephone Workers).

The union is based in Ankara and was founded by Hasan Tartal (temporary chairman), Muzaffer Demirbilek, Yavuz Sirvanci, Fikret Gökcen, Bekir Kinal, Latif Kültür, Muzaffer Erer, Mehmet Soyyilmaz, Resit Gezek, Hazim Akhisar, Ismail Bingöl, Ulvi Dalyan and Kadir Derin, all of them employed by the Turkish Post Office and Radio and Television Directorates.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 28.3.1962, 14.9.1963, 29.1.1966, 9.9.1966 (extraordinary), 15.10.1966 (extraordinary), 9.9.1967 (extraordinary), 5.5.1968 (extraordinary), 2.5.1970, 14-15.2.1971, 5.11.1972 and 18- 19.11.1972 (extraordinary congresses convened by opposition group); 1.9.1973 (extraordinary), 8-9.6.1974, 23.8.1975 (extraordinary), 2.8.1976 (extraordinary), 9.6.1979, 11.4.1980 (extraordinary), 10.7.1981, 24.7.1983 (extraordinary), 2-4.12.1983, 18.10.1986, 26-27.12.1987 (extraordinary), 19- 20.11.1988 (extraordinary), 2-3.9.1989, 9-10.2.1991 (extraordinary), 27-28.6.1992, 25.9.1992 (extraordinary) and 22-23.4.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Cengiz Teke (chairman), Mürselin Arabaci (deputy chairman), Ali Akcan (general secretary), Tayyar Uzun (finance secretary) and Nazim Aksoy (education secretary).

The union decided to affiliate Türk-Is and PTTI in 1962. In 1963 its name was changed to Haberlesme-Is (Union of Post Office, Telegraph, Telephone, Radio and Television Workers and Employees of Turkey) when it was converted into a national-type of union and moved its headquarters to Ankara.

The union was shaken by internal conflicts in 1966 when the general assembly refused to release the former board from its obligations, as the board had failed to present a financial report to the congress. For over a month the union remained without an elected leadership and was managed by court-appointed trustees who convened a new congress on 15.10.1966.

In 1972 similar conflicts recurred in the union when two groups clashed and accused each other of applying force to make board members resign. These groups held two different congresses, one in Konya and one in Istanbul, each declaring itself as the legal meeting. Both groups filed lawsuits against the congress convened by the other party. Employers and banks were unsure as to which officers were representing the union, and union dues were withheld. Under these conditions the Martial Law Command of Ankara suspended the activities of the union in April 1973 for an indefinite period of time. However as a new collective bargaining period was to begin on August 1, 1973, the union was allowed to hold its congress. This congress decided that the general assembly that had convened in Istanbul was the legal one and its resolutions remained undisputed.

In the meantime Cihangir Ildeniz, a former chairman who had been the leader of the opposition group, founded another union called Özgür Haber-Is. In 1976 this union joined Türkiye Haber-Is and Cihangir Ildeniz became an advisor for the union.

The friction in the union continued, however, and between 1980 and 1982 various cliques challenged the elections and filed lawsuits against each other. In July 1982 the union was again put under trusteeship. In 1992, too, the chairman and general secretary of the union were expelled from the union and indicted on the grounds that they had committed fraud. These union leaders are still on trial.

The union publishes since its foundation a bimonthly periodical called „Haber-Is" and has 16 branches (Ankara Merkez, Istanbul Rumeli Yakasi, Istanbul Anadolu Yakasi, Konya, Izmir, Diyarbakir, Samsun, Erzurum, Antalya, Kayseri, Sakarya, Gaziantep, Trabzon, Eskisehir, Elazig, Bursa) and 11 regional representative offices.

It reported 2,050 members in 1973, 12.150 in 1974, 5,912 in 1977, 5,564 in 1979, 1,860 in 1981, 1,570 in 1983, 38,365 in 1996 and 38,448 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Ankara on July 1-3, 1983 to operate in the mining branch; affiliated to Türk-Is, IMF (International Mining Federation) and ICEM (International Confederation of Chemical, Energy, Mining and Service Workers).

The union was founded by Ömer Karahasan, Mehmet Alpdündar, Kemal Özer, Osman Ipekci and Halit Atabay.

The union held general assembly meetings on: 3-4.12.1983, 21-23.11.1986, 17-19.11.1989, 6-8.11.1992 and 13-15.10.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Hasan Hüseyin Kayabasi (chairman), Nevzat Yavuz (deputy chairman), Ismail Mengü (general secretary), Mustafa Engin (finance secretary), Orhan Simsek (organization secretary), Ferit Bengisu (collective bargaining and legislation secretary) and Ihsan Dokur (education and research secretary).

Türkiye Maden Iscileri Federasyonu (Federation of Mine Workers of Turkey) abolished itself at its extraordinary congress on July 1-3, 1983 and was converted into a national type of union under the name of Türk Maden-Is. The unions affiliated to the Federation became branches of the new union, which maintained its membership of Türk-Is. The attempts to convince Türk Maden-Is to join Genel Maden-Is remained unsuccessful.

In January 1991 the members of Türk Maden-Is took part in the general strike called by Türk-Is affiliates, but the government responded by postponing the strike on account of the Gulf War.

The union publishes for the last 24 years a periodical called „Madenci" (Miner).

The union has Western Anatolian and Environs, Ore Workers, Cizre, Corum and Environs, Eastern Anatolian, Easter Region, Aegean Region, Elazig, Elbistan and Afsin, Eskisehir and Environs, Gediz Region, Hisarcik, Central Anatolian, Izmir, Kirka and Environs, Küre and Environs, Kütahya and Environs, Marmara Region, Mugla and Environs, Murgul, Central Anatolian, Seydisehir and Environs, Sorgun, Yatagan and Environs, and Yeni Celtik branches.

It reported 67,644 members in 1988, 57,814 in 1990, 63,616 in 1992, 65,431 in 1996 and 63,927 in 1997.

Page Top



Labour union founded in Ankara on July 2-3, 1983 to operate in the construction branch; affiliated to Türk-Is, IFBWW (International Federation of Building and Wood Workers), EFBWW (European Federation of Building and Wood Workers) and PSI (International Federation of Public Service Workers).

As the Trade Union Act that came into force on 7.5.1983 did not allow for federative type of organizations, the former Yol-Is Federation held a congress on 2-3.7.1983 to adapt its structure to the new law and was converted into a national type of union. All the member unions of the federation, with the exception of Köyyol-Is, abolished themselves and became branches of the new union. Köyyol-Is continued as a legal entity for several months, but also merged with Yol-Is in December 1983.

Yol-Is held general assembly meetings on: 2-4.1983, 6-8.1985 (extraordinary), 16-19.10.1986, 13-15.10.1989, 9-11.10.1992 and 16-18.11.1995. The board elected at the last congress is composed of Bayram Ali Meral (chairman), Fikret Barin and Nuhi Celebi (deputy chairmen), Tevfik Özcelik (general secretary), Turgut Aycicek (finance secretary), Kenan Özsüer (education secretary), Hüseyin Baykal (organization secretary) and Fahrettin Inan (legislation secretary).

In the second half of the 1980’s the union criticised the government for such measures as abandoning the minimum wage practice in some sub-sectors, hiring contract workers, the establishment of free trade zones and the draft law on severance pay. It suggested to Türk-Is the organization of consumer boycotts in order to expose those employers that adopted a hostile attitude towards workers.

At its second congress, a resolution was taken for conducting a vigorous campaign to organize in the private sector. In 1988 the union requested an additional wage rise from the Directorate of Highways in view of the spiralling inflation that constantly reduced the buying power of the workers. When the employer consented to a very low additional raise, Yol-Is decided to organize protest actions under the slogan of „No to Alms". In April 1989, 120 thousand union members organized work stoppages and other actions.

The same year Yol-Is provided moral and material support to the strikes waged by Selüloz-Is and Celik-Is unions.

In December 1992 Yol-Is chairman Bayram Meral was elected to the chairmanship of Türk-Is as the leader of the so-called „reform group".

In September 1995 approximately 74 thousand union members went on strike when the collective negotiations with public enterprises broke down. They resumed work about one month later when an agreement was reached by means of talks between Türk-Is and the government.

The union has 40 branches (Adana 1-2, Ankara 1-2-3-4-6, Antalya 1-2, 1-2, Diyarbakir 1-2, Elazig 1-2, Erzurum 1-2, Eskisehir, Istanbul 1-2-3, Izmir 1-2, Kastamonu 1-2, Kayseri 1-2, Konya 1-2, Malatya, Mersin, Samsun 1-2, Sivas 1-2, Sanliurfa, Trabzon 1-2, Van 1-2) and publishes a monthly journal called „Yol-Is".

It reported 72,275 members in 1984, 130,000 in 1986, 167,719 in 1988, 155,088 in 1990, 188,526 in 1992, 198,044 in 1996 and 195,646 in 1997.

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

Previous Page TOC Next Page