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Turkish minister calls on autoworkers to end strikes

Staff writer |
"Demands and expectations" of workers embroiled in a strike which has hit Turkey's automotive industry can be discussed while they return to work, said Turkey's Industry Minister Fikri Isik.

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He has called on thousands of Turkish autoworkers to end their industrial action to prevent the "negative effects" on the auto industry, which he described as one of the country's most powerful sectors.

"My call is for autoworkers' production to restart as soon as possible," Isik told reporters Thursday at the first day of the Istanbul Austoshow 2015.

"Demands and expectations between employee and employers can be negotiated while production is going on," he added.

Strikes, which began late last week, have hit a Renault factory, Tofas, Fiat's affiliate company factory and the automobile supplier Mako. Workers are angry over salaries and want the abolition of the Turkish Metal Industries Employers' Association. They are also unhappy with their trade union representation.

At Ford Otosan factories, a joint venture of Koc Holding and Ford, workers continued with their strike Thursday, with many chanting slogans against the company.

Ford Otosan had warned that its car production would be affected because suppliers located in Turkey's Bursa province had been unable to send in their vehicle parts. The company added that the strikes had made production impossible at the Golcuk and Yenikoy factories.

Workers at Ford Otosan demand an increase in their wages. They chanted slogans against the Turk Metal Labor Union and accused it of signing controversial agreements. They demanded the union's withdrawal from their factories and a readjustment in the labor agreement.

Describing the incidents as a "reaction against the union," the Turkish industry minister claimed that the labor body was not a party to the dispute.

Meanwhile, staff at a Turkish automobile suppliers announced that they would return to work.

Employees at Coskunoz in the western province of Bursa returned to work after talks between workers and management.

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