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Union wins agreement at Saint-Gobain subsidiary

30 January, 2019After a twelve-day strike, Turkish union Kristal-İş has signed a collective bargaining agreement with İzocam, which includes major benefits, extra paid leave, increased allowances and a significant wage increase.

The acknowledgement of trade union rights for the workers represented by IndustriALL affiliate Kristal-İş comes on the back of a long and sometimes difficult struggle supported by the Saint Gobain Union Network members around the world.

Kristal-İş members at İzocam went on an indefinite strike on 18 January after negotiations for an agreement on better pay and working conditions collapsed. Workers at two factories, the Tarsus, Mersin plant, which produces glass wool, and the Gebze plant, which produces mineral wool, participated.

After twelve days of the strike, the company agreed to meet with workers’ representatives on 29 January. On the same day, a comprehensive two-year collective bargaining agreement was signed between the union and the employer.

The agreement includes a major benefit package including four bonuses for each year, extra paid leave, much higher travel and clothing allowances as well as a significant wage increase.

In addition to the legal severance and notice payments, three workers who were unfairly dismissed for leading the organizing drive will receive 18 months compensation.

It was also agreed in the CBA that contract workers will gradually be made permanent.

“Signing the CBA is a big achievement that Kristal-İş has fought hard to get,” says Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary. “International solidarity has helped to increase pressure on management and we congratulate Kristal-İş on this victory. We look forward to a continued genuine dialogue between the union and İzocam management.”

IndustriALL affiliate Kristal-İş gained legal recognition as the union representing workers at İzocam in May 2018, after a four-and-a-half-year organizing campaign and legal battle, and commenced collective negotiations in August 2018.

İzocam manufactures insulation and is jointly owned by French multinational Saint-Gobain and Kuwaiti investment company Alghanim.