BBC Istanbul employees go on strike after disagreement on collective bargaining talks

BBC Istanbul employees on Jan. 14 went on strike after the Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) and BBC could not reach an agreement in collective bargaining talks.

Duvar English

BBC Istanbul Bureau's journalists went on strike on Jan. 14 due to a disagreement of collective bargaining talks that were launched on Aug. 9, 2021.

Many journalists participated in the strike, and a press statement was issued by Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) Chairman Gökhan Durmuş.

The statement declared that BBC journalists will not give up without securing their rights.

The statement focused on how inflation and the cost of living in Turkey impacted the journalists' purchasing power.

''The Turkish Statistical Institute announced inflation as 36% in 2021, though independent economists put the figure as high as 82%. The BBC's final offer of a 20% increase in pay during the talks will therefore not sufficiently address the meltdown in the staff's wages,' the statement said. 

''We see that the BBC, which has not matched pay raises even to contested official inflation figures in recent years, does not grasp the severity of the situation.''

Journalists also drew attention to the devaluation of the Turkish Lira in 2021. They said that the Turkish Lira collapse had reduced costs to BBC of Istanbul Staff's wage by nearly half.

They also pointed out that their rights were not granted as BBC journalists in the UK and other BBC bureaus.

"We expected the BBC to respond positively to our calls and we tried extensively to solve the problems at the negotiation table. However, the offers we received were far from fair. Until we receive a fair offer, this strike banner will remain here and our strike observers will be on watch every day. Our demands are reasonable and can be met by the BBC," they further said. 

Turkish Labour Party Deputy Ahmet Şık participated in the strike as well.