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2020.01.03 10:23

Striking Turkish workers should take up wages issue in Turkey, company lawyer says

BNS 2020.01.03 10:23

A lawyer representing the Turkish construction company in dispute over unpaid wages with its workers has insisted that the issue cannot be resolved in Kaunas, where the company is building a stadium, but should be taken up back in Turkey.

Fifty-three workers of the company have recently called a hunger strike in Kaunas, saying Kayi Construction owes them between 7,000 and 12,000 each in unpaid wages.

“Under the Lithuanian contracts, Kayi has paid these workers in full and the workers have no reason to make any claims,” Gintaras Černiauskas, a lawyer for Kayi Construction, told BNS on Thursday, after meeting with Kaunas authorities to discuss the dispute.

Aleksandras Beganskas, the head of the Turkish company's Lithuanian branch, told BNS that the problems arose because of the employment contracts made in Turkey and delayed payments under them.

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

Černiauskas said the Turkish workers should resolve these issues back in Turkey: “If that's really true, they should resolve these issues in Turkey, not in Lithuania.”

The lawyer also said Kayi executives were on their way from Turkey to negotiate with the striking workers, adding that works at the stadium continued and would not be affected by the conflict.

“The protests will definitely not affect the stadium construction work,” the lawyer said.

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

The Turkish workers building a stadium in Kaunas went on a hunger strike over unpaid wages on Tuesday. Kaunas local authorities do not rule out canceling the contract with the Turkish company in the worst-case scenario.

The May 1 Trade Union has said that Kayi Construction, the winner of the city's contract to build the Darius and Girėnas Stadium, owes each of the striking workers between 7,000 and 12,000 euros.

Kaunas Municipality signed the contract with the Turkish construction company for the reconstruction of the stadium in June 2018.

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

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