A three-year campaign for the right of Ismaco garment workers successfully ended on November 27, 2015, when IndustriALL Global Union’s Turkish affiliate Deriteks signed a collective bargaining agreement with Ismaco management.
At the end of 2012, garment union Deretiks started organising workers at the Ismaco plant, a supplier to top Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna. Despite approaching the management with various suggestions, the management still decided to fire nine union members for organising activities. To protest sacking of workers, they started agitation at Tuzla Free Zone in Istanbul for 245 days. The union also organised protests in front of Zegna’s stores in Istanbul.
On a visit to Turkey in 2013, Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, called on Ermenegildo Zegna to respect workers’ rights, and take the sacked employees back on duty and recognise the union at workplace. Supporting its affiliate, IndustriALL conducted several actions together with Deriteks, Ermenegildo Zegna and Ismaco to try and find a solution. In late 2014, IndustriALL and its Italian and Turkish garment affiliates agreed on a document of common understanding, recognising freedom of association for all employees at the plant. In early 2015, IndustriALL and Ermenegildo Zegna organized a town hall meeting with all the workers at the plant to announce the joint agreement.
On 1 June 2015, Deriteks received a union authorization from the Ministry of Labour. IndustriALL has continued to assist Deriteks in the negotiations to reach the agreement.