Workers at the Oyak Renault factory in the province of Bursa ended their strike Wednesday morning with 1,284 out of the 1,300 workers who were on strike attending the morning shift. The strike started when employees from Oyak Renault, the Turkish arm of the French carmaker, claimed the Turkish Metal Union, of which the workers are a member, signed a different contract with Oyak Renault than what was asked for by the workers.
The strike, which involved suspending work and not leaving the factory, where around 5,400 workers produce 1,400 cars per day, began on May 15 and had been ongoing until Wednesday morning when an agreement was reached between workers and the employer's representative. The management of the factory had sent an internal memo to workers on Tuesday evening saying none of the employment contracts of the workers will be terminated and the claim delivered to the prosecution would be withdrawn.
Furthermore, a total of TL 1,000 ($375.86) will be paid to all workers within one week and also a TL 600 bonus will be paid each month until the end of the year in addition to TL 480 that will be deposited in the workers' accounts. Also during the negotiations, the management promised to raise wages, and the crisis of including these negotiations in the official minutes was overcome when the management offered to announce the decisions as an internal memorandum.
The strike at Oyak Renault was the last one remaining as all other strikes that had begun, first at Tofaş Automobile Factory as well as automotive supply firms including Coşkunöz, Mako and Ototrim, ended before the strike at Oyak Renault.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Turkey is among the top-10 automotive manufacturers in the world, which has particularly strong power in the European Union market. Speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter, Zeybekci said he did not approve of the strikes as they started during the term of the collective labor agreement that was signed by the two parties.
He also stressed that it was unacceptable for workers to occupy the factories without any legal basis and that these strikes were worrying since the automotive sector accounts for one-third of Turkey's exports. He said that in terms of the safety of the investment environment, exports, occupational safety and the stability of the economy, the strikes were extremely damaging. He said they caused a loss of $320 million in exports according to last week's calculations. "We believe our total loss in exports is around $500 million, and the strikes will also have a damaging long-term effect on the automotive supplier industry," he added.
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