Closing factories to save energy angers Turkish workers
Businessmen and unions are appalled by a Cabinet decision to temporarily shut down production at two state-owned iron and aluminum factories to conserve energy. Both iron producer Isdemir and aluminium producer Seydisehir Eti Aluminyum A.S. consume huge amounts of electricity.
Halil Sahin, Trade and Industry Chamber chairman in the southern town of Iskenderun, where Isdemir is located, told the Anatolian news agency that Isdemir produced its own energy.
He warned that its closure would seriously hurt the economy of Iskenderun. He also warned that the decision would cause iron and steel prices to rise. Sahin said the decision exemplified the government's powerlessness.
The Isdemir labor union Ozcelik-Is Iskenderun's branch chairman, Nihat Kiymaci, said that if the factory is closed the government would incur export revenue and foreign exchange losses.
"Iron and steel is the only thing that we can export now. If we cannot do it the national economy will suffer," the Anatolian news agency quoted him saying.
He said Isdemir employs 11,000 workers and that the Cabinet decision will victimize them.Stopping production in Seydisehir Eti Aluminyum A.S. will affect 200,000 people, said Ozcelik-Is Seydisehir branch Chairman Muslehittin Koyuncu - furthermore, stopping production in Seydisehir would not solve the energy shortage.
"As workers and as a labor union, we raised production to 62,000 tons through hard work, although normal production capacity is 60,000 tons. Our reward should not be the closure of our factory," he said. Koyuncu said if it is confirmed the factory will stop production for a year, the union would begin protests to fight the decision.
Meanwhile, Seydisehir Eti Aluminyum A.S. Managing Director Ibrahim Uz told the Anatolian that if production at the factory were stopped, the annual loss would be $120 million.
He said that the factory consumed 1.155 billion kilowatt hours of electricity a year. He said that if investment to modernize were made while the factory is closed the costs could be recuperated later.
Uz said closing the factory to cut electricity consumption was a wrong decision. He said that closing the factory for a year would only be acceptable if $300 million were spent on modernization during the period. –(Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)