Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Labour Party of Turkey (EMEP): Telekom Strikers Won


44 day strike at Turk Telekom, Turkey's telecommunications giant owned mainly by the Saudi Oger company, ended as 25,000 worke went back to work after a deal was struck between the Haber-İş trade union and the employer.

The deal, hammered out between management and the union, provides for pay hikes of 10 percent this year and 6.5 percent plus inflation in 2008, as well as several fringe benefits.

Workers will also receive one-time bonuses of 200 YTL ($168), and the settlement will cost the company 30 million YTL. The one-time bonuses will act to compensate strikers' lost pay during the action.

“This is a good agreement. It was a successful strike and we won,” said Levent Dokuyucu, the head of Haber-İş's Istanbul First Branch and General Excutive of our Party (EMEP). Dokuyucu said: “A demand by the company was actually deterring workers from becoming union members. The employer in the end agreed to change its position.”

Another crucial point for the union was the demand by the worker that working time should be more than five days and 45 hours a week. The company also shelved this demand, on the condition that if a worker works for six days and 45 hours a week, he/she should get an extra 200 YTL.

A total of 1,100,000 working days were lost due to the strike, one of the longest strikes in the past decade. This figure dwarves the total of lost working days in all strikes combined during the last 11 years, according to data compiled by the Anatolia news agency.

The strike especially affected maintenance and repair work. Also, new land-line subscribers endured significant delays. It was also the first strike in the history of Turk Telekom.

The Saudi Oger company owns 55 percent of the company, while the rest belongs to the state. The government plans to sell all of its stakes in an initial public offering next year.


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