Strike decision at mint spurs gold price fears

Strike decision at mint spurs gold price fears

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Strike decision at mint spurs gold price fears

The summer is high season for gold sales as the number of weddings increase. DAILY NEWS photo / Hasan Altınışık

Turkish mint workers have taken a decision to strike, which might to lead to a rise in gold prices, if no compromise is reached within 45 days, the legal deadline.

The Basın-İş Union of the printing and press industry announced June 17 the strike decision at the General Directorate of the Mint and Stamp Printing House and its branches.

Some sector analysts have said the strike might raise the price of a gold coin from 120 Turkish Liras to 140 or 150 liras.

The hike is crucial at a time when demand will be high as the number of weddings increases for the summer season, as gold is a traditional Turkish gift for special occasions like weddings, births or circumcision ceremonies for boys.

The mint, however, has said current stocks will meet the demand and called for people to remain calm.
For now, as the union and mint cannot reach a consensus, there is 45-day deadline before a strike begins for further negotiations.

Around 40 union members, led by the union’s leader, Yakup Akkaya, who is also the deputy chairperson of the main opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP), gathered in front of the building of the mint’s general directorate to announce the decision. The problem is not the wages, Akkaya said, the real issue is that his fellow workers at the mint are treated like potential burglars.

“Between their entrance though the door until they exit the building – even while they go to toilet – the workers are treated as burglars,” he said.

“The wages might be low, we can fight for that. However, we don’t permit the staining of people’s honor.”

Even though he claimed wages were not the significant issue, he also noted that the average salary of mint workers is 1,562 Turkish Liras ($835) and a raise is another of their demands.

This is the first strike decision of mint workers in 25 years, Akkaya said, adding that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the Istanbul provincial head of the Refah Party at that time and had supported the strike then.