Dear Inditex RBC Team and Officials,
As workers at the Özak Textile Urfa factory, a primary supplier for Levi’s, and members of Birteksen, we are reaching out to you. We wish to inform you that on [date], we again contacted Mr. Urfi Akbalık, President of the Özak Textile Group, and the factory management via email. This communication was a renewed call for a meeting to discuss and resolve issues through dialogue and included the workers’ demands (a copy of this letter is also attached to this email). Just as at the beginning of this process, we reemphasize our commitment to resolving the workers’ issues and ensuring their fundamental rights are upheld, allowing for the continuation of work in peace and harmony.
We, the workers of Özak Textile, have been subjected to excessive production pressure, mobbing, mandatory overtime exceeding 18 hours that negatively impacts our health, unjustified and uncompensated dismissals, wages for experienced and senior workers barely above the minimum wage, denial of the right to unionize, pressure from the employer-aligned union, and the absence of a democratic mechanism to address these rights violations. These issues have been continuously reported to the factory management since early November 2023, before the start of the dismissals and worker protests. However, our requests for meetings and dialogue have consistently been ignored.
Despite facing severe interventions, detentions, and anti-democratic actions over the past two months since the protests began, we remain determined to resolve these issues through dialogue.
At this stage, due to Özak Textile’s refusal to address these violations and to acknowledge the workers’ legitimate demands, brands like Levi’s and Inditex, committed to upholding fundamental labor rights, are nearing the decision to terminate their supply relationship with Özak Textile. This is not a desired outcome for either our union or the workers. As BİRTEK-SEN, we want the factory to continue its operations. However, this should not be at the cost of ignoring fundamental workers’ rights, such as freedom of expression, the right to unionize, and the right to choose a union. The employer’s practices of dismissing workers and blacklisting them are unacceptable.
Our union’s and the workers’ demands are reasonable and justified:
1. Reinstatement of workers dismissed for union membership.
2. Compensation for the days of protest, during which workers suffered.
3. Respect for workers’ rights to choose, join, and be represented by a union.
4. Signing an agreement with our union to ensure these demands are met.
Our priority as a union is to protect the economic activities, corporate identity, production efficiency, and industrial peace of Özak Textile, where most workers in Şanlıurfa are our members. Ensuring this requires the factory management’s respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the workers. A union that genuinely represents the workers’ issues and demands is vital for establishing industrial peace and a safe working environment. We are prepared to fulfill our role in establishing a mutual trust and understanding and a democratic process between the employer and the workers.
With our call made on [date], we once again urge Özak Textile’s employer and management to act with the same sense of responsibility. We hope that the ongoing attitude of not addressing the fundamental rights of workers and the preference for avoiding resolution and dialogue will change, resulting in a beneficial outcome for all parties, rather than leading to production stoppage and factory closures.