- Honour Roll
Nurcihan Ozturk was seven years old when she arrived in Australia from Turkey with her family in 1969. Nurcihan learnt at a very young age of the needs of newly arrived migrants to Australia. From a young age she had to learn how to interpret and translate for her family and friends of the family.
Nurcihan left school after completing year eight and entered the workforce. She started work in a clothing factory making tee-shirts and sweatshirts. Even though she was only a junior she was expected to produce the same as the adult workers. Finding this unfair, she handed her notice to her employer who would not accept it as they believed she was too young to resign.
The employer asked her to bring her parents to the factory. When she did, she told her employer that if they expected her to produce the same as the adults, the company should pay her the same wages as the adults. At sixteen years of age Nurcihan started to receive adult wages and began her life in the trade union movement.
After working in the clothing industry for many years and holding a delegate position, she was asked to join her union, the Clothing and Allied Trade Union (CATU). She started as an Occupational Health and Safety Officer in 1985. In her fifteen years in the union, Nurcihan has moved through the ranks of the union movement. Nurcihan's experience of being a first generation migrant has assisted not only herself, but many people during her years in the union movement. Nurcihan has held a number of positions within her union, as Occupational Health and Safety Officer and Trainer, Union Organiser and Industrial Officer.
She has held her current position as the Assistant State Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) for the past six years. Apart from the internal union positions, Nurcihan has also represented her Union in the following positions: the first Turkish/Australian unionist delegate to the Asian and Pacific Region, Women's Committee Chairperson and as a delegate to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and ACTU Youth Committee.
Nurcihan's achievements include being the first Turkish woman to hold an elected position within the trade union movement. Nurcihan is also active in the Turkish Saturday School as Secretary. She is a strong determined woman and can stand up to any challenge.
Reviewed 27 May 2022