The Turkish unit of French automaker Renault has restarted vehicle production, according to the company, after the workers stopped the protest that lasted for more than a week and returned to their duties.
The employees of Oyak Renault, which is a joint venture between Renault and the Turkish army pension fund, declined to work earlier this month as they joined a wider protest against poor working conditions and low salaries. The labor clash spread to other local units of manufacturers, such as the local divisions of Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. All the plants were located in the area of the northwest city of Bursa, the center of Turkish automotive industry. The protest also affected numerous parts suppliers, with Turkey being a major auto parts manufacturing hub. The dispute has also been placed in political context, as the country’s ruling AK Party is gearing up for next month’s national elections. The party has been focusing on retaining its popularity among the working class, a desire threatened by Renault’s response to the labor dispute, as the French automaker said it could reconsider future investments in the country if such clashes bring industrial instability.
Oyak Renault announced in a statement that its employees would get a bonus of 1,000 lira ($378) when they return to work, with further incentives scheduled at the end of the year, but also dependant of the overall performance. “We hope this will put an end to the problematic period in the automotive sector caused by our factory,” commented the automaker. Last week, Ford Otosan and Tofas, the FCA joint venture, resumed production.