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Turkey: 186-day strike at Mayr-Melnhof ends in victory for workers

29 December, 2018Around 250 members of IndustriALL affiliate Selüloz-İş voted in favour of an agreement on 22 December, which contains important achievements.

Selüloz-İş’ members had been on strike since 20 June, when negotiations on a new collective agreement failed as management proposed a zero per cent wage increase.

With the new three-year agreement workers will get wage increases of 280 Turkish Liras (US$53) per month for 2018. In the second and third year of the agreement, workers will be entitled to 300 Liras (US$57) per month for the first six months of 2019, and the inflation rate for the second half of 2019, and the whole 2020.

The striking union members also managed to get the demanded increases in their benefits. With the deal, including the benefits, workers’ wages will be between 2,150 (US$407) and 3,700 Liras (US$700) per month.

“This agreement, approved by the workers, is a significant achievement,” says İsmail Güderoğlu, union representative at MM Superpak. “We thank everyone who has shown support and solidarity in our rightful struggle.”

Workers at the three plants will return to work on 2 January 2019.

“When IndustriALL visited the picket-line at MM Süperpak, our striking sisters and brothers were chanting that resistance brings victory,” says IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan.

“They have achieved what they chanted with this great result. We wholeheartedly congratulate the striking workers and their union Selüloz-İş.”

MM Süperpak Ambalaj is a subsidiary of Austrian-based Mayr-Melnhof, with operations in Izmir, Karaman and Gaziantep. 

The Turkish Commission of Minimum Wage has fixed the legal minimum wage as of 1 January, 2019, to 2,020 Turkish liras (US$380) net per month. Together with social security premiums and income taxes, this number is calculated to be 2,558 Turkish liras (US$482). According to official sources, around 7 million out of Turkey’s 30 million workers, earn the legal minimum wage.