DİSK Basın-İş in Ekol Ofset: “We will fight until our members enter this factory”

Trade Union of Journalists, Publishing House and Printing House Workers (DİSK Basın-İş) organized a demonstration in front of the Ekol Ofset in Silivri against the dismissal of three union members who tried to organise at the workplace. DİSK Basın-İş Chairman Turgut Dedeoğlu said, “It is obvious that these dismissals are a hostile step taken against the union’s organization. After all these unlawful acts, we would like to remind Ekol Ofset bosses that they should respect the workers’ constitutional right to organize in an union and take back dismissed workers.”

​Ekol Ofset is the Turkish partner of the Belgian Van de Velde Packaging Group and three union members, one of whom was the representative of DİSK Basın-İş at the workplace were dismissed.

After Dedeoğlu, Hatıra Erdoğan and Cihat Baldan, two of the dismissed workers took the floor. Hatıra Erdoğan said, ¨We just wanted to get our rights and decent salaries, but we were dismissed.” After her Cihat Baldan said, “We will not bow to the boss. We don’t want any discrimination between workers in the workplace and we want the dismissed workers to be taken back.”

​DİSK Basın-İş Member of Executive Commitee Ahin Aslan read the solidarity messages of the FGTB Centrale General Union, organized in the printing industry in Belgium, and the Press, Publishing and Printing Union FILPAC, a member of the French CGT Confederation.

Full statement of DİSK Basın-İş:


As the economic crisis deepens and high inflation takes a toll on Turkey, the purchasing power of workers is diminishing daily, leaving them confined to poverty wages despite symbolic increases. In a country where the top 20% receives 8 times more of the total income than the bottom 20%, hunger and poverty are diverted from discussions through artificial agendas. Workers face poor working conditions, mobbing, and the violation of their constitutional rights, hindering unionization efforts. However, despite these adverse conditions, workers succeed in overcoming difficulties through their determination to unite. The current situation at Ekol Ofset exemplifies this struggle.

Ekol Ofset, a 25% shareholder of the Belgian Van de Velde Packaging Group, has long been operating in the Silivri region. While producing for global companies such as Burger King, Coca-Cola, KFC, McDonald’s, and Nestlé, the workers, sustaining the production’s entire burden, have been forced to work under a long-standing policy of low wages and lacking social rights.

Despite Ekol Ofset workers’ organized struggle resulting in wages remaining above the current minimum wage, the eroding effect of high inflation and the rising cost of living condemns workers to live in miserable conditions again. Reacting to the unlawfulness through organization in DİSK Basın-İş, workers faced pressure, mobbing, and constant threats due to low wages, insufficient occupational health and safety measures, and the perpetual threat of being reported.

In their fight to protect their rights and receive what they deserve, Ekol Ofset workers faced attempts by employers to pressure and intimidate them with threats of dismissal. Yet, the workers did not back down from their constitutional rights and continued their organization within our union.

Approximately two weeks önce, despite the bosses’ attempts to intimidate, our union’s workplace representative, İsmail Türe, and our members Hatıra Erdoğan and Cihat Baldan were dismissed on the grounds of ‘downsizing’. The bosses justified the dismissal with excuses such as ‘poor performance’ and ‘incompatibility between workers’ in their meeting with our union. However, the sudden dismissal of our 3 union members, who have been working at Ekol Offset for years while our organizing activities continue, is against the ordinary course of life. It is evident that these dismissals are a hostile step against union organizing.

Let’s take a look at the workers who were among the first to be dismissed on the grounds of ‘downsizing’: İsmail, who has been working at Ekol Ofset for 22 years; Hatıra, an 8-year Ekol Ofset worker who has to take care of more than one disabled person in her family; and Cihat, who found out about his dismissal at the hospital where his child had an accident.

After the dismissals, our union met with Ekol Ofset boss Mustafa Ümit Büyükgönenç, CEO Demir Güleryüz, and Chief Operating Officer Hanife Can. Although we stated that the dismissed workers should be reinstated and that union organizing activities, which is a constitutional right, should not be prevented, the boss did not take a positive step in the face of these demands. Even after this meeting, we learned that many workers were taken on annual leave against their will. According to the information we received from the workers, many workers were lured into rooms by the managers and pressured to resign from the union.

After all these unlawful acts, we would like to address the bosses of Ekol Ofset: Respect workers’ constitutional right to organize in a union and take back the dismissed workers.

As DİSK Basın İş, we announce to the public that we will continue our struggle with determination until our members, who were dismissed under various pretexts, enter this factory. We hereby declare that we will be the voice of all workers who are forced to live and work in poor conditions under the economic crisis and misery wages.

We also have a word for all Ekol Ofset workers who are here to support us or who are here with us today because of the pressure of the boss, but who cannot attend this statement: Workers cannot be defeated as long as they are united. We will win at the end of this struggle. Ekol Offset workers will win!

Trade Union of Journalists, Publishing House and Printing House Workers