Workers react against government decision to privatize 14 sugar factories
YOZGAT - Doğan News Agency
Workers and the labor union Şeker-İş organized in the industry have mobilized against a government decision to privatize 14 sugar factories across Turkey.
According to a notice released in the Official Gazette on Feb. 21, bids will be collected for sugar plants in the Central Anatolian provinces and towns of Bor, Çorum, Kırşehir and Yozgat until April 3, and in the eastern and Black Sea provinces and towns of Erzincan, Erzurum, Ilgın, Kastamonu and Turhal until April 11.
The authority has set April 18 as the date to collect bids for sugar plants in other areas: Afyon, Alpullu, Burdur, Elbistan and Muş.
Turgut Gözübüyük, the local head of Şeker-İş in Yozgat, and union members visited İbrahim Dıvrak, the local head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Feb. 21 in the town of Yozgat, to voice workers’ concerns over the planned privatizations.
Gözübüyük argued the local economy of Sorgun, a district in Yozgat, would suffer from the privatization of the sugar factory in the town and workers would be laid off.
Sorgun’s mayor Ahmet Şimşek also met with disgruntled workers and promised to do everything in his capacity to reverse the decision regarding the privatization.
In Turhal, a town in the northern province of Tokat, the local branch of Şeker-İş launched a petition campaign against the privatization of the sugar plant.
“The campaign will last for a week and the petition will be sent to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” said Nurullah Alpat, the local head of Şeker-İş in Turhal.
Alpat argued that Turhal’s economy would collapse if the sugar plant in the town is privatized.
Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also criticized the government’s plans to privatize the sugar plants.
Mehmet Göker, CHP deputy for Burdur, Ali Orkun Ercengiz, the mayor of Burdur, and the local head of the opposition party Osman Gök held a press conference.
Göker said the sugar plant in Burdur has been included in the privatization program and called on NGOs and other political parties to mobilize against the government decision.
“The bid bond in the privatization tender of the Burdur sugar plant is set at 5 million Turkish Liras. Setting such a high value for a bid bond raises suspicions of unfair competition,” the deputy said.