By Patrick Raleigh, ERJ On-line news editor
Brussels-Turkey's government has banned a strike by Lastik-Is- the country's rubber workers union-on grounds of 'national security,' according to the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions.
The strike was called after the breakdown of collective bargaining talks covering the renewal of contracts for some 4000 workers at six tyre factories. The plants are operated by Goodyear, Pirelli SpA, Brisa Bridgestone Sabanci-a joint venture between Bridgestone Corp. and Sabanci Group-and Turkish firm Anlas Anadolu Lastik Sanayi Ve Ticaret AS.
â€œThe employers presented a set of concessionary demands and refused good-faith bargaining,â€ claimed Lastik-Is, which subsequently organised a protest strike at Pirelli's Izmit plant for 22 March.
However, the Turkish government on 21 March outlawed the strike, under Article 33 of the country's Law on Collective Agreements, Strikes and Lockouts. This was the third consecutive set of negotiations since 2000 that the government used Article 33 to stop a strike in the tyre industry, according to ICEM.
The ban prompted a mass rally three days later by 10 000 members and supporters of the Turkish union, in Izmit. The rally, said ICEM, was a protest against the Turkish government's continuing intervention on behalf of the tyre manufacturers and against their employees.