Metal Workers Shake the Ground


Movement of metal workers in Bursa, heartland of automotive industry in Turkey, sends tremors through the whole metal industry in Turkey. Workers of biggest industrial companies such as Renault, Fiat and some others have already started unofficial strikes and also of other factories including Ford and many others have been holding various types of protests in their factories and around.


Movement of metal workers in Bursa, heartland of automotive industry in Turkey, sends tremors through the whole metal industry in Turkey. Workers of biggest industrial companies such as Renault, Fiat and some others have already started unofficial strikes and also of other factories including Ford and many others have been holding various types of protests in their factories and around. The heart of the movement is some biggest automotive factories such as Renault, Tofaş (Fiat partner in Turkey) involving tens of thousands of metal workers.

For a couple of months metal workers who are “organised” under Türk Metal union have been very uneasy about the recently finalised contract between the boss union (so-called MESS - Union of Metal Industrialists) and the union (Türk Metal). They have been showing their discontent by mild workplace actions against Türk Metal.

The immediate cause for the workers in metal factories to rise was the separate contract signed by the union with Bosch. This contract is a better one and the other workers demanded the same contract to be implemented for themselves as well. They said “if this is possible for Bosch workers, then it is possible for us too.” But Türk Metal rejected this demand and sparked the struggle with this attitude.

Türk Metal is a highly organised gangster band under the guise of a union. It was founded by bosses through fascists and forcibly introduced in big metal companies by the hand of the military fascist junta after the military coup of 12 September 1980. Workers of these companies had been formerly organised in DİSK. With DİSK being closed by the military fascist junta these workers were forcibly made members of this fascisto-gangster union. Since then Türk Metal is a yoke in the neck of metal workers. It is organised in most metal companies with a membership of around 180.000 making it biggest metal union and one of the biggest unions in general in Turkey. Even the workers representatives in workplaces are not elected by workers but appointed from above. They are indeed watchdogs of bosses imposing a regime of fear upon workers.

In the middle of April workers made an ultimatum to Türk Metal demanding a change in the already signed contract which was a shameful three-year contract (a 3-year contract is imposed for the first time in labour history in Turkey) bringing forth a miserable wage rise against inflation. Workers in Renault factory took the lead. They said that if the union did not make a move then they would resign from the union en masse. As the union did not do anything other than trying to blacken the protesting workers, a storm of collective resignations from the union started. Gangsters of the union staged an attack against workers and workers’ press, including UID-DER activists. But they failed to intimidate workers. Now thousands of workers from many metal factories have resigned from Türk Metal. As Türk Metal is not even a yellow union, this is a positive move forward for the workers movement. To smash Türk Metal is a very important step in any case.

In response Renault fired some workers. But workers stopped production and forced the boss to retreat which immediately gave positive result. Renault had to reinstate the fired workers.

<