Turkey: Employers grant pay rises to appease metalworkers scheduled to strike

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2 February 2018

Turkish employers grant pay raises in hopes of appeasing metalworkers

Author: Halil Celik, World Socialist Web Site

In the early hours of January 30, Turkey’s Metal Industry Employers’ Association (MESS) and three trade unions (Turk-Metal, Birlesik Metal-İs and Celik-İs) signed a two-year sectoral level collective bargaining agreement, covering 130,000 workers in 179 enterprises...

As a metal worker put it bluntly, “The mentioned gain looks like a great success, only due to our current misery,” adding, “We are the people, who take whole burdens of the country without a weekend holiday of two days, other social rights and convenient working conditions. Is 2,500 Turkish Lira [around US$675 a month] enough for a family of four?” According to the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, to which Turk-Metal belongs, the poverty line for a family of four is 5,238 Turkish Lira (US$1,396) a month...

The two-year agreement came days after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan banned the sector-wide strike scheduled to begin on February 2. On January 24, the Turkish government specified the 179 workplaces, where strike action was banned on the grounds of being “prejudicial to national security”, including factories owned by multinationals such as ThyssenKrupp, Bosch, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Renault and Siemens...

The struggle of the Turkish metal workers is part of the growing militancy of their international sisters and brothers against starvation wages and deteriorating conditions, which recently exploded in Serbia, Romania and Greece...

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26 January 2018

Metal industry strike banned by the Turkish government

Author: Evrensel Daily

A strike of 130,000 workers at 179 workplaces across the metal sector in Turkey, including all major multinational companies, scheduled to begin on 2 February 2018, has been banned by the Government on the grounds of being “prejudicial to national security”...

The strike was banned by government decree, announced in the Official Gazette on 26 January 2018 after being signed by the President Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and all cabinet ministers on 24 January...

On the day the decree banning the strike was issued, the employers’ organisation MESS invited the three unions to another session of negotiation before the strike date. However, the decree bans further talks between the union and employers...

Wages in the metal industry are low, and conditions are difficult and dangerous. The unions are demanding a significant improvement.

Turkish Law [...] has a provision which rules that “a lawful strike or lock-out that has been called or commenced may be suspended by the Council of Ministers for 60 days with a decree if it is prejudicial to public health or national security.”

[S]trikes are often banned by the government, in a violation of ILO Convention 87 on the right to freedom of association. Turkish unions have frequently defied strike bans and taken illegal industrial action. In some cases, they have won significant victories despite the ban.

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24 January 2018

130,000 metal workers in Turkey to go on strike for better wages & safety conditions

Author: Daily Sabah

Around 130,000 Turkish metal workers are preparing to strike in 180 workplaces, including major multinational companies such as Renault, Ford, Bosch, Arçelik and Mercedes, hoping that it will put pressure on employers to raise salaries and provide better social benefits... 

The strike comes in the wake of months-long failed talks for a collective labor contract with their employer association MESS...

The labor unions have also demanded social benefits, notice and severance payments, overtime and night works, paid holidays, improved health and safety measures and supplementary health coverage through a two-year collective agreement, but have instead been offered low wages and not much else.

After failed negotiations at the beginning of December 2017, the three unions also started to engage in warning actions, including not doing overtime.

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