The Coordination Meeting of the 4th European-Mediterranean Metal Industry Unions Permanent Conference (EMUIC) was held on Thursday, March 25 via video conference. The fourth meeting of the European Mediterranean Metal Industry Unions Permanent Conference, whose first meeting was held in 2017, was postponed to a later date due to the pandemic in 2020.

At the coordination meeting held before the Conference, which aims to develop and strengthen cooperation and solidarity between trade unions in the European and Mediterranean region, discussions were held on the location, time, content and results of the 4th Conference. At the meeting, our union Turk Metal and Italian Metal Union FIM-CISL, Spanish Metal Union FI-USO, Spanish Metal Union UGT-FICA and French CFDT Confederation's affiliated FGMM Metal Union came together via video conference.

The Coordination Meeting started with the speeches of the Conference Coordinators Yücel Top and Barbara Arsieni about the content of the meeting and the 4th Conference to be held. The meeting continued with the speeches of the unions about the general situation in their countries and trade unions.

Our Unions President Pevrul Kavlak made the first speech. Recalling that the world is going through a difficult process, Kavlak said that the rapidly spreading Covid-19 epidemic that caused deaths turned everything upside down and disrupted all plans and programs. Our President Kavlak said “Turkey stated that the secretion of fighting began on March 15, the first regulations concerning working life issued on March 25 said that was done by the law. Some regulations were introduced in favor of workers in terms of benefiting from short work allowances. In fact, the most important regulation that concerns us was made with a new law enacted on April 17th. With this law, employers were banned from dismissal. However, in return, employers were given the right to take their workers on unpaid leave. With this law, employers were banned from dismissal.” “However, in consideration employers were given the right to take their workers on unpaid leave. In addition, it was decided to pay 39 lira 24 kurus per day, in other words 1117 lira per month, from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to unemployed workers who take unpaid leave and cannot benefit from short work allowance. This figure corresponds to about 120 euros ” he said.

Our President Kavlak stated that they informed the government about the arrangements made as TÜRK-İŞ and found the support pays especially for the unemployed who cannot benefit from short-time work allowance insufficient; “We have stated that the amount given to unemployed workers is a wage incompatible with human dignity. However, it was stated that it is not possible to give more in the economic conditions of our country. However, the government was told that under the economic conditions of our country, it is not possible to give more. In addition, in response to the dismissal ban, we have encountered incidents of layoffs in non-unionized workplaces. We also had initiatives related to these. Especially those working in disorganized workplaces were at great risk during this period. Unorganized workers are in a difficult situation both in terms of job security and health and security measures.” he said.

We had this process economically without any loss.

Talking about the measures taken by Türk Metal in the workplaces where it is organized during the pandemic process, Kavlak reminded that they have taken action from the beginning of the pandemic process and said:

 “We took an important step by considering the future and calculating the damages we may face. In mid-March, upon the onset of the first deaths and the rapid spread of the virus, we first made arrangements for production processes by signing a joint contract with the employers' union MESS. Accordingly, we have decided that employers should not fire under any circumstances, except for those who want to leave their jobs voluntarily during this difficult period we are going through. As a matter of fact, our government made a regulation on this issue after us.”

Stating with regret that some of our members caught coronavirus during the epidemic process, Kavlak said, “As soon as we heard that there were people caught with the Covid-19 virus among our members, we added an article to our complementary health insurance support in our collective bargaining agreement, and we included the treatment costs of our members who went to the hospital due to this virus under this insurance. Our friends who got better left the hospital without making any payment”

The most important fact that emerged during this pandemic period was the value of union organization.

Pointing out that our union continues its organizational activities in this difficult process, Kavlak talked about the difficulties experienced in this process as follows: “During this period, we gained 11 thousand new members in 55 new workplaces. Among them were companies with foreign capital. For example, we organized in French Akwel, Spanish company Çepaş. Our organizations in Akwel have been problematic. During the cold winter days, our members in this workplace stayed overnight in front of the factory. They struggled with their families. "

Our President Kavlak stated that besides organizing activities during the pandemic process, collective bargaining agreements were signed in many workplaces and that many new rights were gained for workers with these agreements, he completed his words as follows: “During this period, we signed collective agreements in around 70 workplaces. These agreements we signed were welcomed by our members. In a survey, we applied to our members, the rate of satisfaction with our union and the collective bargaining agreement we signed was determined as 85 percent. In addition, we have not forgotten other laborers who struggled a lot in this process, apart from our own members. We fought for them too. In conclusion, I would like to say that the most fundamental fact that emerged during this epidemic period was the importance of unionism. Organized workers survive this process with the least damage. I hope it continues like this. "

In this part of the meeting, following the speech of our President Kavlak, Italian Metal Union FIM-CISL General Secretary Roberto Benaglia, Spanish Metal Union FI-USO General Secretary Pedro Ayllon, FGMM Metal Union General Secretary of the French CFDT Confederation Stephane Destugues, and Spanish Metal Union UGT-FICA General Secretary Pedro Hojas made a speech about the general situation of the countries and their unions.

Speaking again in the closing part of the meeting, Kavlak explained his views on the Euro-Mediterranean Standing Conference as follows: “I think we did a very accurate job by deciding to create this partnership years ago. Indeed, this union we have established in the Mediterranean area has been a very important achievement for us. It has led us to take important steps both in our organizational struggles and in our international relations. It has led us to take important steps both in our organizational struggles and in our international relations. It is not possible for us to forget the friendship you showed, especially during the period of Turk Metal's membership to IndustriALL. "

Stating that he thinks that this cooperation between the Euro-Mediterranean Metal Unions should definitely continue, Kavlak emphasized that he believes that a face to face meeting should be held again with the relief of the pandemic conditions and the start of international flights, “If we need to identify a topic in advance, I request a topic that we attach great importance to be discussed at this meeting. We are having difficulties in organizing European-capital supply chain companies. Therefore, I think the topic of our next meeting may be about what we can do about it. I am sure that we will see the benefits of the works we will do together, solidarity and common struggle in overcoming these problems”.

Our Vice Presidents Uysal Altundağ, Halil Faki Erdal, our Financial Secretary Murat Salar, our General Secretary Taliphan Kıymaz, and our Head of International Relations Department Burak Ekmekcioğlu and International Relations Office also attended the meeting held online.