Jewelers looking to end of mint strike to help prices
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
AA photoGold prices which are currently high due to a strike at the mint will return to normal if mint workers and their employer reach an agreement, say jewelers.
A drop in production and a consequent rise in gold prices were anticipated after Basın-İş, the union for the printing and press industry, launched strike action July 8 at the General Directorate of the Mint and Stamp Printing House and its branches.
Despite the wedding season and a fall in gold prices, which had raised demand for gold, the strike at the mint, which reduced gold production, affected the supply-demand balance for quarter gold coins, Hasan Çavuşçulu, the president of the Ankara Chamber of Jewelers, said yesterday.
Çavuşçulu said some investors that had produced a large amount of gold for the summer had yet to introduce their gold onto the markets.
“The price of a quarter gold coin is 140 Turkish Liras, but its sale price is 155 liras. Someone makes a profit from this 15-lira difference. They are the ones who printed big amounts of gold and purchased a major part of the gold that has been introduced onto the markets during the strike period,” he said.
Jewelers are very uncomfortable because they can’t explain the difference in prices to customers, he added.
Union wants end
With the start of the strike, the price of a quarter gold coin is currently 15 liras higher than its normal price, while the difference rises to 25 liras for a half gold coin, he said. Mint workers and the mint should come to an agreement in order to ensure a supply-demand balance in gold prices again, he said.
Basın-İş General-Secretary Savaş Nigar said they would like to resolve the issue on the table but added that they had received offers that were unacceptable. “We aren’t content with the strike. We’d like to sign a collective agreement as soon as possible. We may revise our demands,” he said.
The mint and the union have been in talks over a collective labor agreement for eight months, but the parties have not reached a consensus.
The average salary of mint workers is 1,562 liras ($835), union leader Yakup Akkaya said last month, adding that the figure was too low considering the mint’s profits. “This year, the amount of produced gold is 60 tons. In 2012, when the mint earned 68 million liras in profit, it had produced 32 tons of gold. Think about how much this year’s profit will be,” he said.
At the mint facilities, 257 workers in total are employed and production has resumed with 26 workers who chose not to walk-off and 36 workers who were outside the strike law, Akkaya said.
E-PASSPORT PRINT STEPS UP
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey’s General Directorate of Mint and Printing House printed 1.8 million biometric passports in the first seven months of the year, raising the total number to 9.7 million.
The production of passports with the biometric chips has been accelerating, as older-style passports will be phased out around the world by 2015.
The mint printed 3.2 million biometric passports in 2012 and 1.8 million so far this year. The total number of passports with the chip has reached 9.7 million in the country.