Workers Fighting At Work – Essay


I’m working in a public machinery factory in Ankara in 1976. It’s been a few years since I finished school. I am a maintenance and repair workshop engineer. I have about 30 employees who graduated from industrial vocational high school, motor, electrical and mechanics. We produce industrial machines and equipment. We use large heavy machines, lathes, milling machines, roller mills and welding machines in the factory. We do their periodic maintenance of 5000 hours. We renew oil. We replace and renew the worn, deteriorated, broken gears, chains, and other parts. The engine is burning, we renew its windings. Our work is difficult, there is a certain work schedule, heavy work benches have to work 24/7.

We pay high premiums for weekend work and night shifts. My room is a high hut made of steel profiles that can be reached by stairs inside the maintenance workshop. I can see everything from above. The noise of the factory is making me giddy. I stuff cotton in my ears. I’m wearing boots with steel toe caps on my feet, a blue plastic helmet on my head, and a blue apron on my back. I have to tour the factory non-stop, follow the repairs.

One day, while I was working in my room, I saw two newly hired young workers downstairs on the shopfloor fighting hand to hand. They’re not simple fights, they’re punching to the death. I can’t remember what the reason was. I stormed out of my room, went down the stairs, shouted, “you fight at work, I burn your future, walk to my room”.

I made the two of them sit next to the table in my room, put a pen and paper in front of them, “Write your defense, why did you fight? What happened?”. I left the room, I went out, my head was angry, I also need to calm down, I wandered around the repair workbenches in the factory for about an hour, then I returned to the workshop. I went to my room. I took the papers on which they wrote their defense, then, with a very serious face, let them go home.

Then I read the Papers. Two young workers, who punched each other to death, had difficulty expressing themselves when it came to making a written defense. They must have had a hard time expressing about their troubles for an hour in the room. Both showed remorse in their defence.

The next day, they got off work as friends, speaking from the workers’ service, became closer friends and even took care of each other throughout the day and the following days. Later, they took the master and foreman exams and were promoted, and they got the right to stay at free housing for their families. Their children went to very good schools and received a good education.

Fighting in the workplace is the reason for dismissal without compensation according to labor law, this is how it is all over the world. The fear of losing their job immediately ended the enmity between them. Why did they fight anyway? Even it is not clear in my mind. I did not prolong the matter, did not inform the administration, frankly, I “understood” their defense, the incident remained in my mind, but the defenses were forgotten at the bottom of my personal files. For me, it was a good business management experience that is not written in books, but learned by living.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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