AVON, the global cosmetic company, has a warehouse located in the Gebze industrial zone, on the outskirts of Istanbul. With 223 workers, this warehouse plays a critical role within the distribution network of AVON in Turkey. 58 workers are registered as AVON employees and 165 workers are registered as subcontractor (Klüh) employees. Workers have had serious complaints about the unfavorable working conditions in the warehouse, such as heavy compulsory regular overtime work, occupational health and safety violations, and a low wage policy. The vast majority of the workers are women, and they have had particular complaints about gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. Worse yet, as soon as the German multiservice company Klüh started to operate as the official subcontractor on December 28th 2015, workers were urged to sign new contracts which would further deteriorate their working conditions and personal rights. Workers who refused to sign the new contracts have been exposed to bullying by Klüh. Consequently, workers have started to organize under the Warehouse, Storehouse, Ship Building and Naval Transportation Workers’ Union: DGD-Sen. On May 19th 2016, 5 female and 3 male workers were fired without any declared reason. 6 of the fired workers are members of the DGD-Sen Union. They have been protesting at the gates of the warehouse since May 23rd 2016, with banners saying “Our beauty comes from our strength, our strength from resistance” and “Wipe off your lipstick, raise your voice”.
Workers demand that AVON hire back the fired workers, repeal the contract with Klüh, register all warehouse workers as permanent AVON employees, and recognize the DGD-Sen Union as the legal representative of workers. Further, AVON must draw up a protocol with DGD-Sen to provide reasonable wages, hours, benefits and working conditions, and a woman-friendly and harassment-free workplace.
As of today, there is no resolution to this case.