30 March, 2023Members of Birleşik Metal-İş at auto-supplier company, Mata Otomotiv, were dismissed by their employer as response to their legitimate demands of a wage increase.
Union members have been on strike since 27 February demanding an additional 25 per cent wage increase, improvement of working conditions, and better health and safety at the workplace.
Since the beginning of the industrial action, Mata Otomotiv management were resistant and hostile towards workers’ demands. Management locked toilets to prevent workers from using them, and instead of entering into good faith negotiations with Birlesik Metal-Is, they dismissed 650 union members.
Workers, together with their union, and with the support from communities and civil society organizations, are demanding reinstatement, along with their initial demand for improved working conditions.
With high inflation and low purchasing power, many Turkish workers and unions have mobilized their forces to get ad-hoc wage increases in various sectors, including the large metal sector where Mata Otomotiv operates.
As part of their campaign, Birlesik Metal-Is and union members decided to march from Istanbul to Ankara to voice their demands. However, workers were blocked by riot police on 27 March.
Despite the disruption, workers reached Ankara to engage political parties and authorities about their demands.
Adnan Serdaroğlu, general president of Birleşik Metal-İş said:
“Turkey has become a 'paradise for bosses' that has been ruled for many years by a government in which the vast majority of its ministers and MPs are the spokespersons of capital. For this reason, they prevented us from making our just demands known to the authorities in Ankara by blocking our way.”
IndustriALL Europe general secretary Luc Triangle says:
“Turkey is a candidate country for the EU, but what we see in practice, like the blockade of Mata Otomotiv in March, is completely against European values, principles and rules. We reject and protest against this anti-democratic behavior. Peaceful demonstration is a human right. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the resisting Mata workers."
Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Global Union assistant general secretary said:
“We stand in solidarity with our comrades at Mata Automotive and Birleşik Metal-İş. Dismissed union members must immediately be reinstated, and their demands must be met. We can’t allow for workers to be dismissed when they are fighting for health and safety and better wages and their basic worker rights. We support this fight until justice arrives.”
Mata Otomotiv manufactures parts for high-end car brands such as Tesla, Bentley, Jaguar and Audi.