By Eyup Ozer, Birleşik Metal-İş
Negotiations between Birleşik Metal-İş union and Metal Employers’ Association (MESS) during the “group collective bargaining agreement” (*) for 2014 – 2016 term broke down because of impositions of the employers organization.
This will result with an historic strike in the metal sector covering around 15,000 workers in 42 companies commencing on January 29th and will hit several multinationals such as Schneider, Alstom, Mahle, Aperam, ABB, BOSAL, BEKAERT, Delphi Automotive, Federal Mogul, Prysmian, Isuzu, Candy Group, S.C.M. (Sistemi Commandi Mechanici)
Birleşik Metal-İş, say their most important demands are improvements for low waged workers because in metal sector in Turkey, there is a huge gap between workers who are doing the same job. That’s why, the union asked for a general improvement for low waged workers.
But instead of doing this, MESS (Metal Employers’ Organization) widened this gap with the agreements signed with other unions. Also additional to this, they extended the duration of the collective bargaining agreement to 3 years from 2 years which will create more impoverishment for metal workers.
MESS imposed metal group collective bargaining agreements which determines starting wages for new workers only slightly above the statutory minimum wage. For example, with the agreements which were signed, the hourly net wage for a new starting worker will be 5,80 TLs for an hour, but on July the hourly minimum wage will be 5,66.
So for a worker who will start the work on July and became a union member then if you deduct the union membership fee, the net ammount which this worker will receive, will be even less then the statutory minimum wage.
Birlesik Metal Is union will not accept these. That’s why, our union organized a general assembly on January 10th with all the shop-stewards from these workplaces and the decision of that assembly was to go on strike in these companies starting by January 29th, 2015.
In Turkey, strikes have to go on until there is an agreement otherwise the union will loose its ‘competency’ so the strike will go on until there is an agreement.
It will start on January 29th January – nobody knows when it will end. It will be a tough process and two other metal unions already signed this agreement and it will make it more difficult and there is a difficult winter in Turkey, but Birlesik Metal Is members are determined to end this system of impositions and they will not accept the slavery conditions. But they will need international solidarity during their tough fight.
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(* )In Turkey we have something called “group collective bargaining”, it is NOT a sectoral agreement it is a group of company agreements which are negotiated jointly for some number of workplaces between Metal Employers’ Union and unions in the sector.