After 18 days on strike, Bekaert workers in Izmit, Turkey won a staggering 84% pay rise.
This success is the result of strike action which began on December 22 last year when 400 workers gathered outside the Bekaert factory to demand a fair wage increase to compensate for the skyrocketing inflation in Turkey.
After a long strike supported by unions across Europe, as well as industriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global Union, Bekaert has agreed to give its employees a pay rise of 84.83% on average, which will apply for six months.
Over the past few years, inflation in Turkey has skyrocketed, leading to a drastic drop in the purchasing power of workers and wages far from enough to make ends meet. Bekaert had refused to grant its employees a fair wage increase. Fully in their rights under the legislation in force, the employees of the Bekaert factory in Izmit, represented by Birleşik Metal İş, called for a strike on December 13 after the failure of negotiations for a collective agreement.
However, President Erdoğan issued a decree citing national security concerns, forcing the strike to be postponed for 60 days. It can be assumed that the decree was issued on the initiative of the management of Bekaert. The adjournment of the strike is equivalent to a prohibition. Birlesik Metal-Is and the workers defied the ban and went on strike.
Trade unions across Europe as well as representatives of the political opposition in Turkey have condemned the ban while expressing their support for Birleşik Metal-İş and congratulating the workers for their determination to organize their strike despite the decision of Erdoğan.
A determination that yielded an 84 percent wage increase at the collective agreement level, backdated to September 2022 for a period of six months. In March of this year, there will be another increase in line with the official six-month inflation rate plus two percent.