Turkish Automobile Factory (TOFAS) workers in Bursa, Turkey began a strike late Friday protesting for higher wages. The walkout came after Oyak Renault workers halted production.
The protest began with 4,500 workers that were working during the 13:00-21:00 GMT shift refusing to leave the factory’s premises. The production in the factory halted when the next shift joined the crowd.
A spokesman for the group, Faruk Akkas, told an AA reporter that he was working in TOFAS for eight years and witnessed the Metal Industrialists Union strucking a collective agreement for four times. He also claimed that the Union didn’t protect the workers’ rights.
“In a recent collective deal of the union with another factory (Bosch) a ₺500 ($194) difference occurred between our salaries. We demand that raise,” Akkus said.
“We will continue our protests until the employer talks directly with us and accept our demands”.
Union says that the collective agreement of 110 thousand metal workers was signed at the end of 2014 but the Bosch factory was excluded due to the legal issues concerning which union will have the authority.
“An isolated agreement is signed with the employer afterwards and Bosch workers were given high raises since they haven’t got a raise for 38 months. Their average hourly wages ($3.67) are still below their (Renault, Tofas) average hourly wages ($3.83),” union said in a statement.
Although Oyak Renault management decided to deliver rations to the protesting workers yesterday, it said that protests are against the laws and regulations.
However, the company didn’t show any intentions for direct talks with the protesters or the union.
“We are not engaged in negotiations about the contents of the collective deal in effect”.