Turkey: 7,000 workers resigned from unions in auto strike

As the protest against working conditions intensifies

20 May, 13:44

    (ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL, MAY 20 - As a protest against working conditions intensifies, 7,000 Turkish automobile production workers have left the labor unions with which they were registered as daily Today's Zaman reported. The protest started on Thursday of last week at Turkey's largest car factory, a plant in the northwestern city of Bursa run by Oyak Renault. The factory is a joint venture between France's Renault and the Turkish army pension fund. On Friday, the protest spread to the neighboring Tofas plant. Tofas, owned by Italy's Fiat and local conglomerate Koc Holding, said it had halted production until the labor dispute was resolved, adding that it did not expect the stoppage to affect sales. The number of workers who are outraged by failures of the Metal Workers Trade Union of Turkey (Turk Metal) and who have resigned from the union in protest has grown to 7,000 since last week, local sources reported. In response to major strikes at the Renault and Tofas automotive plants, workers at the Mako, Coskunoz and Delphi auto factories had followed suit as of Tuesday morning. Each day that workers are absent from their factories means a decline in the number of cars produced. Renault was expected to suffer a decline of 5,220 units on the sixth day of the strike, while the loss in production estimated for the Tofas plant was 3,248. Together the two automakers, Tofas and Renault, account for more than 40% of Turkey's annual car output, according to industry data. The protests highlight what critics call one of the contradictions of Turkey's economic progress. Years of rapid growth have not been accompanied by a significant improvement in working conditions. Around 40% of Turkish employees work 50 or more hours a week, the highest among the more than 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (ANSAmed).

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