Mehmet Göçmen, the CEO of the Sabancı Holding which is one of the oldest and largest conglomerates in Turkey, announced recently that the holding had raised their profit in the first quarter of this year to over 2,5 billion Turkish Lira (more than $515 million) with an increase of 26%.
Also boasting the “success” of EnerjiSa, the energy-sector company of the conglomerate, Göçmen stated that the company had increased its consolidated operating profit by 67% compared to the same period in last year, reaching a net profit of 243 million Turkish Lira (more than $50 million).
EnerjiSa distributes electric power with a “profit guarantee” from the government in three regions that include 14 cities with a total population of 20 million, nearly one fourth of the total population of Turkey. The income model of private electric distribution companies foresee that they make a certain amount of profit over the compulsory investment sums and costs, and the less items of expenditure there are, the more profit the companies make.
Workers of EnerjiSa have been negotiating with the company about collective contracts since March this year. While boasting the money they have made this year, EnerjiSa forces workers to accept a contract with ridiculous items in it. The company not only tries to convince workers to be paid less, but also proposes to increase the daily meal pays from 11,80 Turkish Lira ($2,4) to 12,50 Turkish Lira ($2,57), showing what they actually make the profit from.
Workers told soL that the Energy, Water, and Gas Workers’ Union of Turkey (Tes-İş) does not share sufficient amount of information with them, and they must be involved in the process more effectively. The workers also stated that they had conveyed certain items to the company’s authorities through the union, and that they would not take a step back from them:
- The blue-collar workers in EnerjiSa must be paid a technician’s salary, which is 1.6 times the minimum wage – but it is less than that. EnerjiSa makes a portion of its 67% profit increase from the salaries of 9000 blue-collar workers.
- EnerjiSa offers 11,80 lira meal pay to the workers, which is certainly not enough to eat healthily, and proposes to raise it to 12,50. However, the workers demand 25 lira (a little more than $5).
- Collective contracts are renewed in every three years, and the contract is smashed under inflation in the third year. The workers want it to be renewed in every two years.
- Workers also demand that EnerjiSa stop pretending to give charity to the workers on the topic of social rights.
The workers have several other demands. They want the salaries to be brought up to a normal level, the personnel to be subject to classification to calculate the salary levels properly, and to be paid 750 lira (nearly $155) once a year to be affected less by tax cuts.