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16 May 2017

TURKEY: 418 Wood Workers at Strike

The Turkish Wood Workers Union (AGAC-IS) went on strike on 12 May demanding a pay increase and to defend their right to collective bargaining. The 418 workers at the Yildiz Sunta Plant, a Turkish company that produces wood products in the city of Kocaeli, had been negotiating for a renewal of a 2-year CBA for 6 months.

While the employer had offered only 8 to 12%, the union demanded a 30% pay increase, citing rising costs of living. The Union’s President, Mursel Tasci, stated "The union members have made sacrifices for the last six years by accepting no wage increase. It is now time for the company to make some sacrifice themselves, and give a wage increase that’s higher than the inflation rate".

The strike has already had a significant impact on the company’s output. Production has stopped altogether, and members and union leaders expect the company to call for another meeting soon to continue negotiations.

“While the company has engaged in collective bargaining since 2010, they have not touched the issue of wages due to prevailing economic conditions,” continued Tasci. “The union and its members are determined to continue the strike until they receive the demanded wage increase.”