Workers occupy art center in wage protest

Workers occupy art center in wage protest

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Workers occupy art center in wage protest

The demonstrators occupied the art space in Beyoğlu for two hours. AA photo

Workers occupied the Borusan Culture and Art Center on Beyoğlu’s İstiklal street in Istanbul yesterday in an attempt to draw attention to insufficient pay rises and reported layoffs due to union activities.

The group, which called itself the Borusan Logistics Resisters, consisted of workers from the Nakliyat-İş (Logistics-Workers) Union, which operates under the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK).

The demonstrators occupied the art space for two hours, made a public statement and reportedly reached an agreement with top Borusan Logistics officials before vacating the premises.Borusan Logistics, however, denied in a press statement that the workers were the holding’s employees and added that they were laid off by one of the company’s service providers. The service provider lay off 40 workers in May for “legal reasons,” the company said.

But the workers said that Borusan Logistics terminated their work contract because they joined the Nakliyat-İş Union. One of the placards the demonstrators carried said the company raised the workers’ wage by only 4 percent even though the company posted 20 percent growth in 2011 and was expecting similar figures in 2012.

A spokesperson for the demonstrators said they occupied the art space to highlight the fact that while the company was polishing its image with contributions to high-brow art with projects like a Philharmonic Orchestra, it was not paying its workers a sufficient wage. The group’s spokesperson said they talked with the company’s lawyers and settled the issue with an eye to scheduled negotiations on their problems tomorrow.

Turkey, labor,