BUSINESS > Workers walk out at armored vehicle firm

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

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BMC’ workers that demand their unpaid salaries have stopped production since Feb. 1.

BMC’ workers that demand their unpaid salaries have stopped production since Feb. 1.

Zehra Aydoğan Zehra Aydoğan zehra.aydogan@hdn.com.tr

Unpaid workers have halted manufacturing at BMC, the maker of Turkey’s Kirpi brand armored carriers, in the western province of İzmir, since Feb. 1. Halil İbrahim Tosun, head of the BMC workers’ trade union, said they would not start manufacturing until the company agreed to pay all unpaid salaries since May 2012.

“We always see BMC, which contributes to the Turkish army with armored vehicles, as ‘national wealth.’ That is the reason we have made sacrifices since May,” said Tosun, the Türk Metal Union İzmir Branch Manager, in a telephone interview with Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Tosun said financial problems began for BMC last May, the first time the company did not pay salaries on time. Soon after, delays in receiving goods from subcontractors affected manufacturing, which was completely halted between May and September. Tosun demanded Çukurova, the parent company, create finances for the BMC. Çukurova is also the local shareholder in Turkcell, the country’s largest mobile operator.

BMC and workers came to an agreement in September to start manufacturing, he said, stressing that the workers received between 300 and 600 liras per month from September to November. BMC and the union reached an agreement in November that promised to pay the salaries every month on time, but without paying past unpaid salaries. Even when BMC made December payments, the workers could not receive the last month’s salary. “Despite the workers accepting all conditions because they were producing vehicles for our army and also because of their loyalty to the firm, BMC broke its commitment,” he said.

“We waited until Jan. 31 for payments, but we did not receive them. Our work stoppage began last week and is still going on. The workers stopped manufacturing, as is their legal right, and we will not change our minds until all workers receive their salaries, which have not been paid since May,” he said, adding that they would not believe BMC’s promises anymore.

An executive from the Human Resources Department of BMC said the workers were exercising their legal rights by stopping manufacturing, in a telephone interview with Hürriyet Daily News. He added that he did not have any information about salary payments.

There are 3,000 employees at BMC, 1,650 of them white-collar workers that are members of the Türk Metal Union. The workers have maintained the work stoppage inside and outside the plant 24 hours a day by stopping manufacturing and not allowing the delivery of completed goods, including 20 Kirpi.

The National Defense Ministry signed a deal in 2009 with BMC to produce 468 Kirpis to be delivered by the end of 2012. BMC is currently 150 vehicles behind the agreed schedule. Along with the military, police forces are also waiting for 468 Kirpi vehicles whose delivery date has passed.


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Notice on comments

Eric Martin

2/9/2013 11:35:31 AM

BMC was taken over in 1989 by Çukurova Group. My mistake. It's hard to tell what's indigenous in Turkey.

Burhan Qadri

2/9/2013 7:08:37 AM

I have experience of same bad management when i worked for another armoring factory in turkey. its like, when you are getting orders you show enthusiasm to clients as for everything you can achieve for clients.. but when you get the orders then you try to find ways to save money or to spoil efforts of the true players in your company who are developing business and with proper workmanship. ..

Eric Martin

2/7/2013 11:29:25 PM

This is a BRITISH MOTOR COMPANY. Not a Turkish company. We need to STOP doing these kind of joint ventures. If this were a turkish company then don't you think they would want to build a domestic car. It' outrageous that the British are building our military trucks. When are the Turks going to 'wake-up' ? We can not build a domestic car when everything is made by foreign manufacturers like Fiat and BMC.

mr who

2/7/2013 12:44:45 PM

The management did not do its home work on the feasibility on this project and is engaged in pyramid structure book keeping and the board should be replaced by the Turkish government until the situation is resolved

Faruk Beisser

2/7/2013 10:10:39 AM

Oh, oh, soon they too will be charges as terrorists! But Silivri has lots of space to accomodate them! If necessary, other concentration camps can be created.
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