Turkey's finance workers organize under the LABOUR CENTRE OF TKP

Turkey's finance workers establish people's committees
Turkey's finance workers organize under the LABOUR CENTRE OF TKP

In the foundation meeting of the committees attended by numerous finance workers, the workers declared that these committees will become prevalent in each finance and banking office considered as the strongholds of capitalism

The banking and finance sector workers in İstanbul, Turkey established committees to rise against mass layoffs, long working hours, mobbing and the pressure of performance. In the foundation meeting of the committees attended by numerous finance workers, the workers declared that these committees will become prevalent in each finance and banking office considered as the strongholds of capitalism.

Following the opening speech, representatives from various banks addressed to the audience to share their determination ...

A worker from Denizbank said he works at a bank managed by "a dictator called Hakan Ateş" and that the workers "have been waiting in despair", trying to find a solution to their worsening work conditions. He added that the people's committees have become a source of hope for them and that they are willing to break this chain by getting organized.

Another worker from Yapı Kredi Bank stated that they are working under stressful conditions, forced for overtime work. She said that they had no channel to object to their work conditions until they came across the people's committees.


"I used to work at Odeabank until two months ago," said an unemployed bank worker, adding "We passed through a multiple stage interview, and the employment process seemed very rigorous. And yet the firing process was quite the opposite. We only heard some rumours two days before we were fired and they made us work until the last minute. They intended to prevent a collective reaction by isolating us and making us feel weak. If we are looking for a genuine solution, it is here in the people's committees."


A worker from Garanti Bank noted that banking and finance workers have been forced to overwork as a result of "much work with lesser worker" policy of the sector. She said "they threaten us with unemployment and force us to work more. By means of the pressure of performance, they create competition among the workers. We try to hold on to our humane feelings under these conditions and the only way to do this is getting organised. I am at the people's committees against exploitation and mobbing."

Another worker from İş Bank said that the rights of bank workers are used as a means of oppression in every collective agreement period. He said the workers of İş Bank are members of a "so-called union" called "Basisen", which holds more than 40 percent of the share of İş Bank and also the share of the workers. Thus during the collective agreement process, the bargaining parties are Basisen and the employees, and there is no party in the process that represent the workers. He noted that he is at the people's committees to get rid of organisations like Basisen and organise the reaction of 25 thousand bank worker in İş Bank.

While a worker from Akbank said he is aware that no one can struggle alone against this system of exploitation and that's why he is at the people's committees, another worker from Finansbank said they will punch the table with their fists they clench because of stressful work conditions.  


Following the speeches of bank and finance workers, Yıldız Koç from the labour centre of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) addressed the workers. She said the labour centre of TKP will assist in the organisation of people's committees at the banks and finance centres by means educational materials, researches, brochures and any other kind of materials.


Kemal Okuyan, the general secretary of TKP, made the final speech at the foundation meeting of the bank and finance workers. Okuyan said "The speeches made by bank and finance workers are very striking. I wish that we could have made people who admire the advertisements of banks listen to these workers. They would then see another face of the banks."

Noting that the bank and finance sector is harsh both on the workers and the clients, Okuyan said "The banking sector seems naturally prestigious and that's why the workers do not consider themselves belonging to the working class despite their harsh work conditions. The bank and finance workers had been alienated from the rest of the working class through the prestigious image of the sector, and yet the harsh reality became obvious. The system does not need a vast middle class anymore. The bank and finance workers here have a great responsibility on their shoulders, that is, subverting the middle class ideology surrounding the workers."

Okuyan also added "the educated working class is like a double-edged knife: they have the difficulty of acknowledging their working class identity and yet easily react against oppression. Although individualism is prevalent in this sector, they have the ability of organisation and collective act. That was exemplified during the Gezi Park protests." He noted that educated working class will play a critical part in the fight against the capital.

Attended by representatives from 18 banks and finance centres, the people's committees have agreed that new committees in each bank will be formed soon, that they will struggle to form solidarity among bank and finance workers, to reveal anti-worker implementations at the banks, and to remove the barriers before the organised action of the workers. In addition to these decisions, TKP labour centre announced that an education on the rights of bank and finance workers will be organised soon. The people's committees of bank and finance sector will have a worker's newspaper to be published every three months.