Renault fires 23 workers for attending strike, signals more dismissals

November 14, 2012, Wednesday/ 16:23:00

The Oyak Renault factory located in Bursa denied entry to 23 of its workers who are members of the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DİSK) on Wednesday following their participation in a strike on Tuesday over a dispute on a union agreement, with additional dismissals expected to come as more workers are identified.

According to news reported in the Turkish media, DİSK members disapproved of an agreement prepared by the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-İş) and went on strike during the night shift at the factory on Tuesday. They accused Türk-İş of cooperating with their employer and began a sit-in in front of the management offices, calling on Türk-İş to resign. They were also joined by workers in support of them from the nearby Bosch factory who are also Türk-İş members. However, the strike turned into a fight between the workers on strike and those who support the deal prepared by Türk-İş. News reports said three workers were injured in the fight, which involved over 100 workers, and were taken to hospital.

Oyak Renault, the French carmaker's name in Turkey, denied entry to 23 employees during the morning shift on Wednesday after indentifying them as having participated in the fight. The employees were later fired. It is expected that more than 25 other workers could face the same treatment before the beginning of Wednesday's night shift. The company has taken extensive safety measures around the factory to prevent another fight but declined to comment on the issue.

The workers who were dismissed said on Wednesday that they will sue the company, claiming that their bosses had told them not to protest against the Türk-İş deal. Expressing that they had been mistreated, the workers said that amongst those dismissed were workers who had served the company for 10 to 15 years.

Meanwhile, other employees who worked throughout Wednesday stated that they did not face any pressure after signing the agreement presented by Türk-İş, though they said that announcements had been made for workers to comply with the rules of the workplace.

The metals sector is expected to begin negotiations for a labor agreement. The sector employs about 120,000 workers and Türk-İş has the largest share of members. However, some Türk-İş members have argued that the union prepared a proposal and began negotiations without asking for their opinion, which led to the strikes against Türk-İş. The first strike took place at the BMC factory in İzmir and was followed by a protest by 3,000 workers at the Arçelik factory in Eskişehir. The protest at the Renault factory in Bursa was the last of the protests against Türk-İş and also involved the employees of Bosch, Coşkunöz and Mako Elektrik.

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