As a reaction to the workers’ strike, the Turkish company, “Tosyali”, is bargaining with the workers to either resign with compensation or to be dismissed.
They raised the slogan: "This is colonialism rather than investment” to denounce their humiliating working conditions ...
Thousands of them work as contractual workers…like hostages, under their Turkish employer.
“Tosyali” for iron and steel industries is a large Turkish factory situated in Bethioua, (east of Oran), that was inaugurated by Tayeb Recep Erdogan during his visit to Algeria, accompanied by the former Prime Minister, Abdul Malik Salal. Despite the fact that the workers of this factory succeeded to overcome their fears, through striking and protesting for 6 days against the restrictions that were imposed on them by the local authorities and the Turkish administration, the administration decided to expel more than 50 workers, without compensations.
This decision resulted in the dissatisfaction of workers, who were subjected to a compromise to either submit their resignation and receive compensation or to be dismissed with none of it, in violation to all the provisions of the Algerian labour code and the treaties ratified by Algeria.
One of the workers’ representatives said: "I accepted to submit my resignation in the month of Ramadan and take the compensation because my contract is a temporary one and it will end soon, in two months. However, after withdrawing confidence from the union branch, which stood against the workers’ will, in support the Turkish administration, the rest of the workers' representatives refused to submit their resignation, thus, they have been dismissed. Then, they decided to meet with the labour inspectorate to initiatie the legal proceedings against the arbitrary mass expulsion of workers."
This comes at a time, when the Mixed Ministerial Committee, between the Ministries of Industry and Labour, did not present the problem and did not do anything for the workers, except to disperse their strike and protest.
In fact, these protests and strikes originated from the popular movement witnessed by the country, the strikes that included many industrial sectors, and the retreat of the General Independent Confederation of Algerian Workers’ (CGATA) Secretary-General, Abdel-Majid Sidi Said, who decided to call for the conference and not to participate as a candidate for the elections again.
In fact, hundreds of workers will participate in this conference, to ask for the provision of good working condition, as candidates, or to ask for the dissolution of the factory union.
The workers' strike at the Turkish company was followed by a massive strike that included thousands of workers inside the factory, as, the factory’s management did not meet the social and labour demands of the 4800 workers. In fact, the workers protested to ask for the cancellation of the temporary contracts for the workers, who had already been working in the factory for more than two years. However, the factory’s management set new labour contracts of 3 and 6 months, which is contrary to the labour law, as well as the inequality in wages between the Algerian workers and their Turkish counterparts, whose number is about 800 workers, doing the same tasks, in addition to the allowances ,which led the workers withdraw their confidence from the union branch, which did not stand with the complaints of workers, against the Turkish administration and workers, as well as its often refusal to enter into a strike.
In regard to this dangerous situation, and the non-interference of the authorities to implement the labour laws and protect the workers’ demands, the workers launched a protest in front of the Oran governorate headquarters, to ask for the intervention of the governor. Consequently, the administration resort to justice to obtain a legal decision declaring the illegitimacy of the strike. Moreover, it stopped the buses transferring workers and closed the restaurant, according to the workers. The factory’s administration did not provide any clarifications about the workers' strike and their demands, as well as its non-response to the telephone calls.
“Tosyali” ‘s management statement
After the aggravation of the situation, the factory’s management said in its first statement to the workers after a week of protests that "the company was subjected to an illegal strike by a small group of workers without the administration’s consultation." It also pointed out that “the union branch presented a list of demands for wages and working conditions. We started to examine these demands and to submit proposals as soon as possible to the representatives to be elected, who we can negotiate with. " The statement revealed that the company took measures to renew the work contracts, which are about to expire for a year. Eventually, the statement stated that "the strike is illegal and unacceptable," explaining that "if the strike continues, precautionary measures will be taken against the strikers.”, asking the workers to resume their work without delay, noting that despite all, the strike continued even yesterday.
This act was considered a dodging movement by the protesters, whose aim is to win time, until the governor of Oran issued a request for the intervention of the public force to open the factory and stop the strikes and protests, in a clear violation of the labour law and the role of the judiciary.
Consequently, this prompted the workers to sue the administration before the Social Affairs Department and the Labour Inspectorate to confront the intransigence of the factory’s administration and the intervention of the state authorities in the affairs of the factory, resulting in the workers’ layoff from work and collective expulsion.
The protestors, who gathered in front of the company's headquarters in the industrial zone of Bethioua, in Oran, had previously condemned what they considered as a clear abuse by the management of the Turkish company, which deliberately kept them in a critical situation through the fragile working relationship imposed by them. The MP and trade union activist, Ismail Qawadriya, confirmed that the total number of workers in the Turkish company, in Oran is estimated at 4350 workers, of whom only 350 work as permanent employees, while the other 4000 workers work are contractual workers
The parliamentarian and trade unionist, Ismail Qawadriya, praised the workers' strike movement, who are struggling to defend their rights against their Turkish employer, saying that thousands of them took part in demonstrations today, despite the administration’s warning to dismiss them definitively.
The trade union source pointed out that “Tosyali” for iron and steel was in a period of critical financial situation, but it has recovered after the visit of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Algeria, in Oran, accompanied with the former Prime Minister, Abdul Malik Salal. Moreover, the company has been granted privileges to exploit the iron mines in Senegal and will plan to transfer the raw material from that country to its factory in Oran aboard giant ships, but it never cared about the fate of thousands of workers.