Turkish union, automakers agree to protect workers’ rights

Turkish union, automakers agree to protect workers’ rights

Turkish union, automakers agree to protect workers’ rights

The Turkish Metal Workers Union (Türk Metal) has reached a deal with automakers to protect the rights of the workers during suspension of production.

Türk Metal chair Pevrul Kavlak held meetings with the employers, notably Ford Otosan, on the rights and benefits of the workers and the health conditions at the factories as most of the companies declared partial or total shutdowns as part of measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the six-point deal, the employers have committed not to lay off any workers apart from voluntary redundancy applications, Türk Metal said in a statement on March 24.

In case of suspension of production, workers will be paid a full wage but they will take 12 days annual leave, according to the statement, meaning that they will get paid leave for half of the month.

If a company applies to the authorities for shortened working hours, all the benefits and compensation payments of the workers will continue to be paid, making sure that they get at least 89 percent of their normal wages.

When the production resumes, companies and the union will agree on overtime working schedules after April 24.

“There are only a few workplaces at which production continues. Some of our members are facing risks at those factories continuing production with employees working close to each other in high numbers,” the statement said.

Türk Metal members will halt production at the factories unless it is ensured that there will be at least a distance of one meter between every worker, daily fever checks are done daily, protective gears including masks, gloves and disinfectant agents are provided and the spaces in the premises are regularly disinfected, it added.

Ford Otosan said last week that it suspended production at the factories in the northwestern province of Kocaeli and the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir.

Other Turkish automakers including Oyak Renault, Toyota Turkey and Tofaş, a joint venture between Fiat and Turkey’s Koç Holding also suspended production.

Türk Metal has about 199,000 members according to the Labor Ministry data in January.