Turkish metal workers announce strike, bosses set for lockout
Three Turkish labor unions, which represent more than 130,000 workers in the automotive, white goods and iron-steel sectors, have announced a strike, which is set to start on Feb. 2.
The strike comes after the unions failed to agree on a collective labor contract with the employer association, the Metal Industrialists Union (MESS).
In stock filings late on Jan. 23, companies including Tofaş, Ford Otosan, Otokar, Arçelik and Türk Traktör stated that MESS made a lockout decision and the due date would be announced to these companies according to the strike steps.
The companies also added that negotiations to clinch a collective labor deal were still underway between the parties.
The metal worker unions, the Turkish Metal Union (Türk Metal), the United Metal Workers’ Union (Birleşik Metal-İş) and the Iron, Steel, Metal and Metallic Products Workers’ Union (Çelik-İş) announced their strike decision on Jan. 22. They said the talks, which started back in September 2017, failed to result in a solid agreement and no progress was reached in mediation talks.
The MESS’s offer to the metal workers included a 6.4 percent wage increase for a three-year contract period, in addition to a 12.8 percent increase in social benefits. This offer was rejected by workers and labor unions on Jan. 12.
The first wage hike offer by the employer union, which represents more than 200 companies, was 3.2 percent.
Türk Metal wanted a 38 percent wage increase with a two-year contract. The difference between this offer and that of Çelik-İş offer was just a 0.5 kuruş additional increase in all metal workers’ hourly wage.
In addition to a two-year contract, Bileşik Metal-İş asked for a rise of the hourly minimum wage to 9 liras and an average 30.5 percent wage rise.