ISTANBUL – French car giant Renault has offered a cash payment to striking workers in western Turkey where a wage dispute has hit the thriving Turkish car sector ahead of June 7 elections.
Oyak Renault factory, a joint venture between Renault and the Oyak army pension fund located in the western city of Bursa, said it offered workers a cash lump sum of 1000 Turkish lira ($370 or 350 euros) if they returned to work at midnight on Monday.
The workers will not face disciplinary action or layoffs due to the strike, Oyak-Renault said in a statement released overnight Saturday.
“As Oyak Renault management, we are concerned about the company’s future and call on all our workers to resume work on May 25,” the statement said.
An official from Oyak-Renault told AFP that workers were still debating among themselves whether to accept the offer, which is tantamount to around a month of the national minimum wage.
The strike in Turkey’s biggest car plant started on May 14 over a wage dispute and affected other car manufacturers including Tofas, owned by Italy’s Fiat and Turkey’s Koc Holding and Ford Otosan, the Turkish unit of US auto giant Ford.
Production at Ford at two locations in the Kocaeli region resumed Thursday and workers at Tofas in Bursa ended their five-day strike on Friday following an agreement between the company and the workers.
Oyak Renault said the concessions were in line with those Tofas made to its workers.
Together, production at Tofas and Oyak Renault accounts for more than 40 percent of Turkish auto output.
The strikes come ahead of legislative elections on June 7 and as the economy starts to show signs of weakness after years of impressive growth under premier-turned-President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Car production in Turkey has grown multifold since Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, helping fuel a decade-long economic boom.
According to the Paris-based International Organisation of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), Turkey produced 1.
17 million cars and commercial vehicles in 2014, up from 346,565 in 2002.