Strikes continue as some workers compromise

Major worker protests in Turkeyand’s industrial hub have yet to simmer down after a week of unrest, with Koandc Holdingand’s Tandurk TraktandOr deciding to stop production on Friday even though car-maker Ford Otosan and auto-part supplier CoikunandOz Holding resumed operations on Thursday.
While workers at CoikunandOz and Ford Otosan compromised on a deal with their employers and resumed production on Thursday, Turk TraktandOr said in a statement to the Public Procurement Platform on Friday that the company decided to suspend output at its factories in Ankara and Sakarya provinces because of an ongoing labor dispute.
Major labor unrest that began on Thursday of last week at Oyak Renault, the Turkish factory for French car manufacturer Renault, has grown into a sector-wide strike, with thousands of workers from several automotive firms walking off the job in several provinces over poor working conditions and low wages. After some 5,000 Renault workers went on strike, workers at another automaker, Tofai — a joint venture between Italian Fiat and Turkeyand’s Koandc Holding — embarked on their own protests.
As metal workers at other firms such as Mako, Ototrim and CoikunandOz followed suit until Monday, Fordand’s Turkish branch in Kocaeli province became the countryand’s third major auto maker to halt production on Wednesday. In the latest development in the chain of events, Tandurk TraktandOr of Koandc Holding joined the strike late on Wednesday.
Workers say the dispute erupted after the Metal Workers Trade Union of Turkey (Tandurk Metal) managed to secure a 60 percent wage hike for workers at parts maker Bosch Fren recently, but failed to reach a similar deal for workers at other companies where Tandurk Metal is authorized to represent employees in collective bargaining.
Since the protests began, employer unions and governmental officials have called on workers to stop their strike, highlighting that the country is racking up heavy export losses with every passing minute it continues. Despite temporary solutions offered by companies, however, workers are still resisting returning to work in a bid to ensure a permanent improvement in their working conditions.
Turkey is the worst performer among all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)ountries with regards to the proportion of workers who work long hours, divided by overall labor force. OECD data says 43.3 percent of all employees in Turkey work 50 hours or more a week, far more than the average — 9 percent — across all OECD members.
OECDand’s statistics also highlight that people in Turkey work 1,855 hours a year, 90 hours more than the OECD-member average of 1,765 hours.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman