Turkey’s Fiat workers join Renault workers in production halt

Turkey’s Fiat workers join Renault workers in production halt

Turkey’s Fiat workers join Renault workers in production halt

Cihan Photo

Production at Fiat’s Turkish car manufacturer halted on May 15, as workers joined colleagues from Renault, another auto maker part-owned by a European giant, as they protested wages and other employment conditions, company officials and media reports said.

The workers remained in front of the plant’s premises on May 17, as the employees declared a holiday until May 18. 

A Renault spokesman said work at the Turkish factory stopped late on May 15. Workers are protesting at the country’s biggest automobile exporter, Reuters said.

“This halt in output is not in line with employment laws and relevant regulations,” the spokesman told Reuters, on the condition he remain unnamed.

Efforts were underway to resolve the stand-off with the 2,500 protesting workers outside and inside the plant in the northwestern city of Bursa, he said.

On May 15, workers at Tofaş, a joint venture between Italy’s Fiat and Turkey’s Koç Holding, staged their own protest, stopping the assembly line, CNNTürk reported.

Some 5,000 people work at Tofaş’s Bursa plant, the channel said, adding that talks between workers and management were continuing.

A union official said earlier the action at the Renault plant amounted to a protest, but a strike had not been formally declared.

Oyak Renault, a joint venture with Turkey’s army pension fund Oyak, produced around 318,000 cars last year, according to industry association figures, accounting for more than 43 percent of the total car market.

Doğan News Agency reported that around 400 vehicles are manufactured at the plant in a single shift.

Tofaş builds Fiat’s Linea car, Doblo van and other models for Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall. It produced 240,000 units in 2013, according to its website.