The protest of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) workers who were fired without notice after the new administration took office has entered its 19th day, as they are waiting for their voices to be heard by the municipality administration.
"We were fired without reason. We are expecting an explanation and will continue our struggle," said Adem Demir, who worked as a construction equipment operator in İSFALT before he was fired.
Despite Istanbul's Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu mentioning just after his June 23 Istanbul election victory that the rights of all people would be respected, many of workers lost their jobs reportedly due to political views. The fired workers demanding justice launched a protest in front of the municipality after their dismissal.
Zahide Umut, a mother of a fired İSPARK municipality worker, called on İmamoğlu and Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to fulfill their promise of respecting workers' rights. "Kılıçdaroğlu promised that they wouldn't fire anyone. Where is his word?" asked Umut. The protesters include workers from the companies of İSPARK, İSTAÇ, BELTUR, BELBİM, MEDYA AŞ, İSFALT and İSTGÜVEN in partnership with the İBB.
The first department that had to face the bad news was MEDYA AŞ, which has lost 63 out of its 184 personnel. The Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company (İETT) followed, losing 850 of its drivers by the end of August. BELTUR, on the other hand, has lost 175 of its workers so far. At ISPARK, another branch of the municipality, which provides parking services throughout the city, 238 workers have been fired by the new administration. With the inclusion of all the other departments of the municipality, the total number of fired workers has reached 1,400.
Stressing that he has a diabetic child, Sinan Semiz, another worker of İSFALT fired by the new municipality, said he is concerned about meeting the needs of his child. "I am calling on İmamoğlu and Kılıçdaroğlu. They made election promises saying they wouldn't touch municipality workers," Semiz said.