Report by Bharathi
Metal workers in Bursa, Turkey, have been protesting against both their employers and trade unions in response to an unfair collective agreement on which they were not consulted. They are calling for a new one which provides a better pay deal for the workers. The metal workers would like to see the existing collective agreement between the Turkish Metal Workers’ Union and the Metal Traders scrapped, and the same terms as those agreed and signed by the Bosch factory in April adopted instead.
However the large companies, such as Tofas, Renault, Mako and Coskunoz have responded with threats to sack campaigning workers and have been using oppressive bullying tactics. The most recent example of these threats and bullying behaviour was experienced at the Renault Automotive Factory which employs almost 6,000 workers. As a result of the Renault workers’ ongoing campaign with their colleagues in the metal industry, on 5 May, 16 workers were illegally dismissed from their jobs. Some workers discovered that their colleagues had been illegally sacked whilst they were clocking in for a night shift. In solidarity with their colleagues these workers refused to work their night shift. As a result of the interruption to production and the increasing reaction from workers, the employers’ representatives announced that the 16 employees who had been dismissed would be reinstated, that they would be communicating the request for a new collective agreement to the headquarters in France and requested until 20 May in order to reach an outcome.
However, it is not just the Renault workers that are struggling under difficult working conditions in Bursa. There are also others such as Tofas, Mako, Coskunoz and Valeo, where workers have been protesting for days demanding that employers’ come to the bargaining table to discuss improvements to their December 2014 collective agreements and make a pay increase in line with those agreed by Bosch in April 2015.
In order for the metal workers’ demands for a new collective agreement and their ongoing struggle in Bursa to succeed, they will need the support of workers in Germany, France, England and other European countries.
Tamil Solidarity stands in solidarity with the metal workers in Bursa, Turkey, against the threats and oppression the bosses. We support their right to protest and stand alongside their demand for higher pay. We also condemn any threats and bullying behaviour was experienced at the Renault Automotive Factory workers.