Middle East

Workers across Turkey strike when inflation bites

Istanbul: Soaring inflation in Turkey has driven a wave of strikes that no country has seen since the 1970s, as workers demand more money to counter the decline in wage values. .. Supermarket warehouse worker Bekir Ngoc was fired this month for demanding 4 Turkish lira (30 US cents) an hour with 256 of his colleagues. This is equivalent to a loaf of bread.

However, after workers in the Migros supermarket chain went on strike, they regained their jobs, regained salary increases and other demands, and inspired disgruntled employees across the country. “We were looking for the price of a loaf of bread! Nothing compared to what we have helped their income since the pandemic began,” Gock said. Turkey’s annual inflation rate officially reached 48.7% in January, and workers are struggling to keep up with the soaring cost of living. Industrial activity is rare in Turkey, where the massive strikes that marked the 1970s are a distant memory for most people. A military coup d’etat in 1980 cracked down on union activity.

However, according to an independent labor research group, more than 60 strikes, factory occupations, protests and boycott calls have involved at least 13,500 workers in the country within two months. One of the most prominent strikes these days was launched on February 1st by motorcycle courier of food delivery company Yemeksepeti Banabi. “We put our lives at risk by doing this job. We deliver our luggage in the snow and rain, rather than working in a four-walled office,” he said. Izzet Baskin, a 27-year-old deliveryman for a company in the capital Ankara, said.

“There is no hope left”

“We can’t look ahead, we can’t look ahead,” said his colleague Ferhat Uyar. “We have no hope left. We continue this resistance to anticipate the problem,” said a 27-year-old woman. After paying for rent and energy, Uyar said he couldn’t afford the products he offered, such as takeaway coffee from Starbucks.

Yemeksepeti Banabi’s delivery courier currently receives 4,253 lira ($ 305) a month. Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s minimum wage after a 50% increase in 2022. However, the Turkish Lira Union said last month that the poverty level was 13,844 lira. Banabi workers are on strike, demanding less than half that amount, 5,500 lira. German company Delivery Hero acquired Yemeksepeti Banabi in 2015 for $ 589 million. Nakliyat-Is, a freight union supporting delivery workers on strike across Turkey, said nearly 100 courier companies have been killed in the last three months. In 2020.

“These are workplaces without employee health and safety oversight,” said Union Ankara representative Byram Kirkin. To hear their demands, riders were immediately recognizable with fluorescent pink jackets and helmets, blocking the road with motorcycles.
Kirkin said he couldn’t become a member of the Nacriyat Is Union because the company then made administrative changes overnight and officially registered the workers under the “office” label rather than as transport workers. rice field. Proceedings to challenge this move are underway. There have been calls on social media to boycott companies accused of ignoring employee demands, and the union says Yemeksepeti Banabi’s orders have dropped by 70%.

The success of delivery personnel at the Turkish e-commerce company Trendyol has also inspired many who seek more wages. After being offered an 11% salary increase, they went on strike in late January. Three days later, they accepted a 39 percent increase.

New worker “spring”

Basaran Aksu, organizational coordinator of the Umut-Sen union, said this was just the beginning. “The results of collective bargaining will be announced shortly in April or May, raising concerns about livelihoods and the future. I believe this will lead to increased worker movement,” Aksu told AFP. rice field. “The pandemic has made workers worse,” said Neslihan Akar, a DGD-Sen union representing Migros employees.

Migros, who claimed that an impressive 257 supermarket workers had “occupied” the warehouse, welcomed employees in a statement after the deal was settled on Sunday.

As long as the cost of living is high, workers’ protests will continue, said Aziz Cherik, a labor instructor at Kocaeli University. “Workers trying to unite in the private sector are facing a lot of pressure, they have been fired,” said Cerrick. However, despite the difficult situation, DGD-Sen’s Acar was convinced that change would come. “I’m angry. Workers will create their own fountain.” – AFP

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/workers-across-turkey-go-on-strike-as-inflation-bites/ Workers across Turkey strike when inflation bites

Back to top button