Kivanc Eliacik, A young and charismatic leader of one of the largest labour unions in Turkey will be speaking in Halifax this Saturday about the state of human rights in his home country and around the world.
Eliacik, 30, is the international secretary of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (CPTUT). He will be addressing a meeting of the Confederation of Canadian Unions, the largest organization of independent unions in the Canada.
“It’s an honour to have such a fascinating and respected activist address our membership,” says Joanie Cameron Pritchett, President of the CCU. “This event has taken months to organize, and Eliacik will provide our members new insight into some of the struggles of workers and unions in Turkey and throughout the globe.”
Eliacik is from a country where labour activists can face imprisonment and even death by state police forces for any actions the Turkish government disapproves of. In fact, his union, the CPTUT, was banned in 1980, and only legalized again twelve years later.
“Kivanc is such a compelling personality and speaker,” says CCU Vice-President John Hanrahan, who first met him at an international union conference last year in Istanbul, Turkey. “Kivanc and his fellow workers have dealt with arrests, water cannons, tear gas, and other forms of violence from the Turkish government. I don’t think union members here in Canada could really ever understand what workers in Turkey have been through,” says Hanrahan.
The event will take place at 2 pm on Saturday, October 27th as part of the annual “Labour School” sponsored by the Confederation of Canadian Unions. It will be held at the Lord Nelson Hotel and Suites, 1515 South Park Street, just across from the Public Gardens, and all are invited to come out.
“The issues of human and workers’ rights are too important to be kept to one organization. We hope those in the Halifax community can come out Saturday afternoon to hear Eliacik speak,” says Pritchett.
“His story of global solidarity is such an important one,” adds Hanrahan. “After all, a threat to freedom and democracy anywhere is really a threat to us all.”