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Alleged violations of the FLA freedom of association provisions, worker intimidation, unjust dismissal.
In February 2006, Textile, Knitting and Clothing Workers Union of Turkey (TEKSIF), a trade union affiliated with the TURK-IS national confederation, filed a Third Party Complaint against Paxar Inc. The complaint alleged Paxar Turkey’s refusal to enter into collective bargaining negotiations, worker intimidation, and unjust dismissal of 11 workers for trade union activity. Paxar Turkey is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Paxar Inc., a US company; 80% percent of the factory’s output used in Turkey by the suppliers of different global apparel brands.
The FLA appointed Vic Thorpe (of the Just Solutions Network), to assess the negotiation process in the Paxar dispute, liaise with the parties, and inform the FLA of any developments. At the request of the FLA President, Vic Thorpe met with Paxar’s management in Turkey and one worker representative. For a summary of Vic Thorpe’s comments on the two parties’ perspectives, see the Brief Summary (June 2006). In short, the first report found that (1) Paxar avoided the opportunity to start good faith negotiations; (2) Paxar seemingly sought to promote workers’ disaffiliation; (3) contrary to Paxar’s interpretation, the Turkish court that ruled against the strike did not actually find that the union was non-representative; (4) Paxar was aware that the situation was attracting considerable interest from the international NGO community and its suppliers. The 2006 report went on to recommend that the global brands seeking to encourage a dialogue should address Paxar’s US head-office. It noted that the headquarters’ “get tough” policy, coupled with major investment losses in the local plant as a result of this dispute, might shut down the factory, with negative consequences for the workers and union-organizing in general. The report concluded that the company should engage in good faith bargaining with the union.
Just Solutions Network (FLA) participated as an observer at the final negotiating session between Paxar and TEKSIF in August 2006. The meeting ended without agreement and without a date being set for a new meeting.
After protracted and difficult negotiations, a collective agreement was signed under Turkish labor law between Paxar Turkey and TEKSIF on February 26, 2007. The agreement was achieved through direct negotiation between the parties and without intervention of external mediation or conciliation. The agreement begins on January 1, 2007, and ends on June 30, 2009 (2.5 years).
A collective bargaining agreement was eventually signed between the two parties on February 26, 2007. The FLA will continue to monitor the situation at Paxar to ensure full implementation of the negotiated settlement and respect for freedom of association.
FLA case story page: http://www.fairlabor.org/report/paxar-factory-turkey