May 1st is the day of struggle and solidarity. For centuries, workers have been rebelling against the persecution of bosses and the injustice of capitalism in their workplaces; they bring their struggles together in the streets and squares. This year, we enter May 1st on days that are extraordinary for us every day, but this time for the rich. The corona crisis has become a new one of the ongoing crises of the system for young workers who are in crisis every day. We had to grapple with difficulties as hundreds of thousands and millions, both desperate and unconcerned, as well as those who stayed in their homes with their accumulated, paid leave or who did not need a salary to close home already. The struggle for us is every day in our lives, where we have to choose between working disease and staying hungry.
We speak as young workers, those who serve their homes closed under the name of corona virus outbreak measures. It is now time to raise our voices, which we maintain between cashiers, we deliver from one cargo engine to another, and we whisper between parcels on our back, and orders in the kitchens.
Who are we? We are young workers, we are forced to work even under the most inoperable conditions.
We are cargo workers, in our workplaces where measures are regarded as expense or delayed, we are forced to keep up with an increased workload. The simplest mask, as if we had to touch what hundreds and thousands of people touched from home to home, from warehouse to home every day, are the ones who eat little by little in our disinfectant demand. In these days when walking around the street is prohibited, we are the ones carrying shoes from warehouses to houses.
We are warehouse workers. Among the boxes we have to raise for cargoes, we measure the limits of the product that a person can carry by forcing them with his body. We are paying the increase in the workload due to the epidemic by decreasing our salaries despite the increase in working hours.
We are market workers. We are seen as snoring as a source of virus in workplaces where the human tail is not missing at the door. On days when people are afraid to spend even 1 hour outside, we have no employees working for less than 13 hours. Precautionary preparations are not even included in working hours. We are the ones who take care of the departments that they are not interested in before and who are forced to do things that are not responsible.
We are fast food workers. We are those who are not paid or delayed while working in the world’s largest chains. As a reason for this, we are billed for less incoming orders. We are forced to be even faster in the industry where we work fast.
We are waiters, komis, dishwashers who are fired; In this system of injustices, where we do not have the luxury to close home, we are the ones who are taken away from work. We are workers who are forced to use their annual leave and sometimes even use it as luxury.
FOR SOME FREE
LEAVE FOR SOME
We, the young workers, have been the most exploited and the most oppressed since the beginning of the process. This violence continued to increase to our friends working in different service sectors, where precarious, flexible working conditions are used as a weapon. While only a few of the workers working in secure jobs were on paid leave, none of the service workers had paid leave. Those who can take leave are either used their annual leave or leave for free leave and are sentenced to starvation at 39 lira per day.
EMPLOYEE EXPLOITATION ALWAYS MORE
For those of us who have to work to live and whose sector is not directly affected, precautions were presented as a reason for our struggle with increasing workload. Our working hours participated in the preparatory phase of the mandatory measures. We have worked more in the workplaces where we have always worked more, this time with our salaries reduced by half. The government said that layoffs were prohibited, but many of us were already laid off until the whole process was over. Legal cases were created for unpaid leaves, with the excuse of banning layoffs.
In the epidemic, capitalism continued to exploit child labor without slowing down. For other young workers, double standard practices… After the declaration of curfew under the age of 20, young workers who could work with a permit were granted “privilege”. A small amount of assistance for basic foodstuffs and other needs could not be accessed, we were forced to take care of our families trying to get along.
We are entering May 1st when we are most aware of the increasing pressure, exploitation, and our lives trying to be devalued. We call on our fight against bosses who steal our lives with or without viruses. We call on all young workers to participate in the program we have prepared for May 1st and to raise the sounds we make amongst us. ■
Declaration of May 1st from the Young Workers Association (Genç İşçi Derneği) of Turkey.
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Originally posted (and in the original Turkish) on Meydan.org
Translation by DAF (Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet)