Workers carry their outcry to major cities

Workers carry their outcry to major cities

Workers carry their outcry to major cities

The workers of BMC ,who decide to carry their protest from İzmir to Istanbul and Ankara, stay in a sports hall in Manisa on the first day of their journey. DHA photo

Unpaid workers who have halted manufacturing at BMC, the maker of Turkey’s Kirpi brand armored carriers, since Feb. 1 in the western province of İzmir, yesterday decided to carry their protest to Ankara and Istanbul.

Some 1,200 BMC workers, who have not received their salaries since May 2012, have been divided into two groups. One group will continue its protests in front of the Parliament building in Ankara while the other will protest in front of the Istanbul headquarters of Çukurova Holding, BMC’s parent company. The total number of BMC workers is 1,650.

The buses carrying the workers left İzmir on Feb. 18 and stopped in the western province of Manisa, where the workers stayed in a public sports hall.

Deputies support workers’ protests

During his visit to the sports hall, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Özgür Özel said his party was always on the side of workers claiming their natural rights. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Selçuk Özdağ also said he would accompany to the workers in Ankara.

The two groups of workers departed Manisa yesterday on the road to Ankara and Istanbul.
In a telephone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News early in February, Turkish Metal Union İzmir head İbrahim Tosun said BMC’s financial problems became apparent last May, when the company first failed to pay salaries on time.

BMC and workers came to an agreement in September to restart manufacturing, he said, stressing that the workers received between 300 and 600 liras per month from September to November. BMC and the union then reached an agreement in November that promised to pay the salaries every month on time, but without paying previous unpaid salaries. However, even though BMC made the December payments, the workers did not receive their January salaries.

“We waited until Jan. 31 for payments, but we did not receive them. The workers stopped manufacturing on Feb. 1, as is their legal right, and we will not change our minds until all workers receive their salaries, which have not been paid since May,” Tosun said.