Public sector workers go on one-hour strike throughout Turkey

July 07, 2009, Tuesday/ 12:32:00
Public sector workers organised under the roof of Türk-İş, Turkey's largest labour unions confederation, went on a one-hour strike through out the country to protest the government who turned down their demands in the collective bargaining talks.

Workers who gathered in front of their work places, punched in with one hour delay, while their representatives made statements in front of certain venues through out Turkey which were announced earlier by Türk-İş.

Chairman of Türk-İş, Mustafa Kumlu and other senior Türk-İş officials joined workers in their strike at Turkey's Electric Distribution Co. in Ankara.

"Yes, this is a struggle for our bread. It is a struggle for the money we earn for our households, the food we put on our tables. It is a struggle for being able to send our children to school, to buy medicine for the sick, to pay our rents and utilities," said Kumlu during the strike.

He said these were all basic needs of human beings adding that unfortunately they had to struggle to earn these in Turkey.

Workers chanted slogans during Kumlu's speech asking to government to pay heed to their demands.

Kumlu who said the government offered 3 pc raise for the first six months and 4-4.5 pc for the second half.

"My friends, while our losses from social security and health insurance premiums and taxes are still there how can we take this offer," Kumlu was quoted as saying.

Kumlu said the workers demanded nothing but reimbursement of their losses from newly introduced or raised insurance premiums, taxes and inflation.

Türk-İş officials who met with Premier Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently turned down the government's offer which promised a 3pc - 4 pc raise for the first year and 2.5 - 2.5 pc  for the second year.

Türk-İş argued that the offer was too low and workers had already lost 6 percent due to taxes and 1.7 to 2 percent from the newly introduced insurance premium charges from bonuses making the total loss in 2009, 8 pc.

Türk-İş said the government's offer, did not make up for the worker's losses, let alone bringing raise to their wages and vowed to make strikes and demonstrations until their demands were met.