Turkish police intervene in labor protest, wounding two

Police intervened in a union-supported demonstration in the western province of Kocaeli on Friday. Two people were wounded.

The entrance of a car seat production factory for D.S.C. in the Kartepe district was blocked by 35 workers and Birleşik Metal-İş union members Friday as a protest in support of recently fired employees. The protesters claimed some workers of the 101-employee establishment had been fired for being union members. The factory hired new employees as replacements, but the fired workers and union members blocked their path when they came to work.

Police intervention resulted in Hami Baltacı, the provincial head of the union, suffering a broken rib and a worker named Sezer Torgut receiving wounds to his hands. Torgut said they would continue their struggle until they are returned to their positions. Cumali Çeri, another worker who claimed they were fired solely for their union membership, said: “They said the firings were because of the economic crisis. Then why are they hiring new workers? Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says we can be members of two unions, but we cannot even join one yet.”

The right to be a member of more than one union was granted to workers in the Sept. 12, 2010 constitutional reform referendum.

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