Avon operates through an official subcontractor in the country, with this operation employing its own Avon registered employees, alongside other subcontracted workers provided by Germany subcontracting companyKlüh.
Avon’s manufacturing facility is situated in the district of Gebeze, a short distance from Istanbul, where around 200 staff are employed, the majority of whom are women focused on the distribution of Avon branded products.
Most staff are employed as contract workers
Less than 50 of the workers are officially employed as Avon staff, with the remaining employees being contracted in byKlüh. Andaccording to a report by online news service provider Broadly, it is a significant difference in pay levels between the two groups of workers that has led to the protests.
The report highlights that theKlüh workers receive the minimum wage in Turkey, which is approximately $450 a month, while their Avon counterparts take home approximately $860.
Disgruntled by the disparity in salaries, the Klüh workers unionized in December last year, in an effort to get better representation concerning the difference in pay.
Anger over employment practices
They are also protesting over a number of other employment practices which they view as unfair, including compulsory overtime and shifts being organised in such a way that the workers would sometimes have to work for 15 consecutive days.
Klüh management has been approached for official comment on the picketing and the unionisation, but has declined to speak about the situation publicly.
Earlier in the year Klüh management attempted to impose a contract that would allow it to move its contract workers between the different facilities it hires staff for in the Gabeze area without giving staff prior notice, as well as introducing a two-month trial period for all staff.
The action resulted in protests by 80 union workers which led to six of the union members being fired in May. Union workers have been picketing the Avon facility ever since.