The strike in Turkey covers around 30 major textile and clothing producers

The strike in Turkey covers around 30 major textile and clothing producers

Some 12,000 workers in Turkey's clothing and textile manufacturing sector have gone on strike over wages.

The strike covers around 30 major textile and clothing producers including Altinyildiz, Bahariye Mensucat, Vakko, Akin Tekstil, Kordsa, Karsu, Levi-Strauss, Isbir, Söktas, Orta Anadolu and Yünsa ve Saray Hali.

Unions Teksif, Oz Iplik-Is and Tekstil, which represent textile, clothing and apparel workers, have taken the strike action due to the the "intransigent attitudes" of the employers' organisation on wage and wage related matters.

"We began to negotiate with very good-will decent wages for our members, however because this process has been put by the employers in a way not leading to the solution, we have arrived at a point of end of the words," Texif presidnet Nazmi Irgat told the IndustriAll Global Union.

Average gross salary of Teksif members is reported to be around TRY1,165 (US$603.1) per month, and 55% of workers in the sector earn the legal minimum wage (TRY978.60).

IndustriAll added that textile workers live beneath the poverty line and because of low wages and social payments qualified workers are leaving the sector, with the turnover rate in the sector at 37%.

The disagreement centres around employers wanting to keep special wage arrangements that were agreed to survive the period of crisis. Teksif is demanding bonuses return to the previous level of 120-day salary instead of the current 72, while the employers' last offer was based on 90-days salary.

Employers have offered a 3% salary increase, while Teksif's latest demand was for a 15% rise.

Commenting on the strike, IndustriAll general secretary Jyrki Raina said: "Turkey is one of the most important and strategic countries for global textile and garment sectors. This is why success of Teksif in this strike is vital, not just for Turkish workers, but also for the rest of the world.

"IndustriAll Global Union will continue to give its full support to the striking Turkish textile workers."