115,000 workers mull strike at top metal sector companies
“Metal workers have come to the point where the words fail and now it’s time to show our power coming from production,” said Pevrul Kavlak. DHA PhotoAs the collective labor agreement talks between Türk Metal Union and Turk Metal Industrialists’ Union (MESS) have come to a deadlock, the Türk Metal Union has said it is considering holding a strike within 60 days and warned that workers will protest against the employers through several actions in the meantime.
The negotiations on collective labor agreement concern 115,000 workers employed in Turkey’s top automotive, white goods and metal sector companies, including Renault, Tofaş, Arçelik, Otokar, Karsan, Mercedes Benz, MAN, Ford Otosan, Türk Traktör, Delphi and Borusan Mannesman.
“Metal workers have come to the point where words have failed and now it’s time to show our power coming from production,” said Pevrul Kavlak, Türk Metal Union Chairman and General Secretary of Turkey’s largest union confederation Türk-İş, after he announced the strike decision.
He said the union might decide to strike in 60 days and that from today until the end of contract process, the workers would protest against the employers through a range of methods, including work stoppage, hunger strike, sitting strike during shift entry and exit point and growing beards.
The agreement at issue is the largest and most significant collective labor contract in Turkey and affects automotive, white goods, electronic and iron and steel industries, in addition to other large sectors and public servants’ labor agreements, Kavlak said.
The Union is demanding a rehabilitation of its members’ wages, which are below 5.5 Turkish Liras, and an 18 percent increase to every worker’s salary for a six-month period. It also requests private pension system for all members.
The metal workers’ gross wage average is 1,400 liras ($780), Kavlak added.