Metal Workers Are On Strike! (Tilbe Akan)
These days, Turkey is shaken with metal workers who mainly work on automotive industry, strike in Bursa, İzmit and Ankara. Renault ignites the wildfire in metal industry. A week passed after the strike started and except Renault, Tofaş, Ototrim and Turk Tractor (Ankara) joined them. Although mass media claims that strike is over, strike spreads other factories.
What are the motivations of the strike?
Everything started when a better contra ct had been agreed upon by Turk Metal  and the Metal Industrialists Union (MESS) of the employers in Bosch Brake System in Bursa in December, 2014. Three years ago the workers in Bosch Brake System resigned from Turk Metal and joined a more militant metal union, Birleşik Metal İş (United Metalworkers’ Union). After this change of union, both the employers and Turk Metal forced the workers to leave Birleşik Metal İş. They managed the workers to join again Turk Metal by force. To ensure the permanence of the workers, Turk Metal and employer had to sign a better contract in December, 2014.
The acquisition of the Bosch workers triggered other workers who are participant of Turk- Metal. Therefore, they started to resist. Workers demanded renewing the collective labor agreement base on the Bosch workers’ agreement. Against this decision of workers MESS threaten the workers openly. They sent message to workers by saying that renewing the collective labor agreement is not possible. They declare this strike illegal.
What are their demands?
In Bursa, 4 factories went on strike -TOFAŞ, Coşkunöz, Renault and Mako. And yesterday, Ford- Otosan workers joined the strike. Their demands are very clear and reasonable:
– After the end of the strike, no worker will be fired.
-The same contract with Bosch workers will be signed.
– The existence of Turk Metal in the factories will be ended. We will have the right to choose whatever union we like.
Why is this strike important?
This strike is the first one in the history of Turkey that longs for such a period without any leadership of a union (and even against them) and includes such a huge mass of workers (nearly fifteen thousands of workers).
In last two days the workers reached an agreement with the bosses of Tofaş and Ototrim. This agreement referred a compromise. The rise on the salaries will be not as much as they want. The status of Turk Metal in the factory is uncertain. However, the first strikers, Renault workers did not accept such an agreement, they continue their struggle. Moreover, new struggles start in different area of Turkey such as Mercedes workers.
We witness a historical process. Everything has been done is critical for the process. As socialist, our duty is to be in solidarity with them and active in organizing the process.