Meliha Beysülen

Let me rule over you!

Meliha Beysülen

Trade Union of All Municipality Civil Servants, From the 1990’s onwards 

Tüm Bel-Sen and KESK offered solid grounds for me to struggle for rights and liberties. After the 1980 coup d’etat , spaces for organisation were eliminated. It was only in the 1990’s that establishing organisations became possible in the associations and in the unionist struggle. I started to be involved in union work in 1993-1994. It was a period of change in the metropolitan municipality administration where a more conservative and rightist administration took hold. A period when we faced difficulties in the workplace and struggled for union rights. Many meetings were held for rights and liberties, strikes extended to the streets. Discriminatory policies and punishment became regular in the workplaces. We constantly faced cuts in wages, warnings, displacement and similar practices. Women labourers in higher positions in the municipality were also subjected to such practices as counting the vehicles on the street. I, too, faced similar circumstances. I was given a blood pressure monitor and was sent to a remote address by truck. Most of the time there was no  sick person at the address. 

We witnessed that our male friends with whom we struggled together in the streets held the view that we should act together in the union’s elections, but they say: “Then I will take the lead afterwards and rule over you”.

To read the full text of Meliha Beysülen’s oral history interview of 2022 (in Turkish) click here.

To watch the video of Meliha Beysülen on “Gender equality works in a union dominated by men.” (in Turkish) click below.