Strikes at Renault Turkey end, but not at Ford
The Renault laborers demanded an increase in salaries and called on the Turkish Employers’ Association of Metal Industries (MESS) to help reach a deal with the company. MESS member workers at home appliance giant Bosch were earlier granted better wages.
Production resumed at 8 a.m. on Wednesday after a deal was struck with the automaker Renault on midnight on Tuesday. Renault workers had previously rejected concessions made by the firm on May 24.
The strike began last Thursday in the northwest city of Bursa at Turkey’s largest car factory, run by Oyak Renault, a joint venture between the French automaker and the Turkish army pension fund Oyak. The strike quickly spread to Tofaş, a joint initiative between automaker Fiat and Turkey’s Koç Holding. Koç Holding subsidiaries Ford Otosan and Türk Traktör both had to halt production.
Previously, workers at auto parts manufacturer MAKO and TOFAŞ were among the establishments where the strikes had ended, with laborers getting better terms.
The strikes had set off alarm bells, with Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who is in charge of economy, calling for an urgent solution. The automotive sector is indispensable for the Turkish economy, generating $22.3 billion in 2014 alone.
Ford still has troubles
The Turkish unit of Ford Motor Co has suspended operations at one of its plants after a week-long labor dispute flared up again just days after the company resumed production at another Turkey plant.
Ford Otosan, in a statement late on Monday, said it had stopped production at the Inonu plant as a precautionary measure after some of the workers who had been on strike did not leave the plant.
“Manufacturing operations at our Inonu plant have been temporarily suspended until further notice,” the statement said.
The dispute over working conditions and pay started late last week at factories in the northwest city of Bursa and spread to a number of parts suppliers in the area, where Turkey’s auto industry is centered.
Workers said the dispute was sparked after union Türk Metal last month negotiated a 60 percent wage hike for workers at a plant run by parts maker Bosch Fren, but failed to secure a similar deal elsewhere.