Local reports claimed Deriteks Union president Makum Alagöz was shot and wounded in the leg during a meeting with the owner of Akar Tekstil (Akar Textile) in İzmir, Türkiye.

He allegedly suffered a bone fracture and remains in hospital but is not in a critical condition. The Fair Labor Association, which promotes human rights at work, said it is “deeply distressed” by the reports.

A spokesperson for H&M confirmed to Just Style it has ended all business relations with this supplier after it was informed of the “shocking news”.

A local news publication claims that H&M was already in a phased exit process with the factory, but has now terminated the relationship with immediate effect.

FLA and global unions condemn armed attack

The FLA claims the Deriteks Union has a collective bargaining agreement at the factory in question. Its owners have allegedly filed for bankruptcy, with union discussions said to be covering the payment of severance to workers ongoing at the time of the assault.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Deriteks said: “This attack was made first against our union and then against the entire working class and its organised power, all unions.”

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The FLA explained Deriteks has more than 4,000 members and is the fourth-largest union in the textile, garment and leather sector in Türkiye.

In a statement, the FLA said: “FLA stands in solidarity with Mr. Alagöz, his family, and Deriteks, and wishes him a speedy recovery. We encourage Turkish authorities to swiftly bring the perpetrators involved in this attack to justice. FLA supports freedom of association for workers; acts of violence against labour leaders suppress and interfere with this fundamental human right and must not be tolerated.”

Writing on X, IndustriAll Global Union and IndustriAll European Trade Union also strongly condemned the attack on Alagöz.

In an open letter to Deriteks, IndustriAll said: “The use of force and guns against workers’ representatives is criminal and totally unacceptable. We would like to send a clear message to our members in Akar Textile that we stand fully behind them in their struggle. It is their fundamental right under international law to promote the interests of workers who have chosen to stand together in a union and demand their fair share of profits and productivity.”

Akar Textile had not responded to Just Style’s request for comment at the time of going to press.

The news comes shortly after leaders from Turkish trade bodies revealed how they plan to achieve “double-digit” growth in apparel exports at the Istanbul Fashion Connection (IFCO) trade show.