Turkish workers halt protest after favorable ruling
Workers of Turkey's former state tobacco and alcohol monopoly Tekel on Tuesday called a break to months of protest over labor rights in the Turkish capital Ankara after a favorable ruling by the country's top administrative court, local media reported.
The workers, who have been staging a sit-in strike since last December, will continue with the protest on April 1, Mustafa Turkel, head of the Tobacco, Drink, Food and Allied Workers' Union of Turkey, was quoted by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News as saying, Xinhua reported.
Tekel workers complain a privatization of the company would force them to quit their jobs or accept positions in another state institution with lower wages and fewer benefits.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offered an 11- month temporary employment option for the workers and urged them to sign the contracts by March 2. However, the Council of State has decided to cancel the time limit.
Following the court decision, Tekel workers could have more time before they choose whether to accept the government contracts. They would continue to receive their severance pay, the newspaper reported.
"This resistance has yet to end," Turkel was quoted of saying. "They are going home to reunite with their families and summon the energy for the next term."
The government has promised to improve the conditions of the contracts.
Tekel was acquired by global cigarette giant British American Tobacco PLC for 1.72 billion U.S. dollars in 2008.