2020.01.02 17:00

Probe launched into Turkish company after workers stage hunger strike in Kaunas

BNS 2020.01.02 17:00

The State Labour Inspectorate has launched an investigation into Kayi Construction in Lithuania after 53 Turkish workers building a stadium in Kaunas went on a hunger strike over unpaid wages

Turkey's Kayi Construction, currently building the Darius and Girėnas Stadium in Lithuania's second largest city Kaunas, owes each of its workers between 7,000 and 12,000 euros, according to the The May 1 Trade Union in Lithuania.

A meeting between Kayi Construction representatives and the local authorities is planned on Thursday. "We have summoned the company's executives and representatives today for a serious conversation and they should come at some point in the afternoon," Tadas Metelionis, deputy director of administration at Kaunas Municipality, told BNS.

"We will encourage and pressure them to resolve these problems as soon as possible, pay the workers, resume work and continue complying with the contract," he added.

Read more: Turkish construction workers go on hunger strike over unpaid wages in Kaunas

Jurgita Kazukauskaitė-Sarnickienė, a communication adviser at the State Labour Inspectorate, confirmed to BNS that the watchdog launched an investigation into Kayi Construction's Lithuanian branch on Thursday.

According to Metelionis, the contractor might be fined if the construction work lagged behind the schedule because of the strike.

The local authorities do not rule out canceling the contract with the Turkish company in the worst-case scenario.

The May 1 Trade Union says 53 workers are currently on a hunger strike outside the Kaunas municipality building and they intend to continue their protest until all their arrears are paid.

Aleksandras Beganskas, head of the Turkish company's Lithuanian branch, told BNS the Turkish workers are employed under two contracts, one in Lithuania and one in Turkey. They will be paid under the Lithuanian contract soon but the biggest arrears have accumulated under the Turkish contract.

"The money is ready and we offered all the sums they are entitled to. There are problems with the main company which is in Turkey," Beganskas said.

The problems emerged after other firms failed to pay the Turkish company, said Beganskas. There are plans to reach an agreement with the construction workers so that part of the money is paid in Turkey and the remaining amounts will be paid under an amicable agreement over six months.

Kaunas Municipality signed the contract with the Turkish construction company for the reconstruction of the Darius and Girenas Stadium in June, 2018.