Over 100,000 Turkish metal workers set to strike - report

More than 100,000 workers in Turkey’s metals industry are preparing industrial action demanding higher salaries and better social benefits.

About 130,000 people could go on strike unless their demands are met, Daily Sabah newspaper said on Thursday. The industrial action would affect major foreign companies in Turkey such as Mercedes, Renault, Ford and Bosch, the report said.

The threat of strikes comes at a time when the government is supporting manufacturers with tax incentives and loan guarantees to boost economic growth. While confidence among manufacturers is increasing, consumer confidence remains at low levels and unemployment is in double digits, according to government surveys.

One of the unions, the Metal Industrialists Union (MESS) has already decided to embark on a lockout, several major companies reported. Two other major unions, including the Turkish Metal Union (Turk Metal) are also planning action, Daily Sabah said.

Turk Metal and Celik-Is want a 38-percent pay rise, the newspaper said. Demands for social benefits include paid holidays, improved health and safety, and severance pay, it said.

The strike call comes in the wake of failed negotiations with employers, Daily Sabah reported.