Probe launched over Turks building stadium in Lithuania's Kaunas, executives summoned

  • 2020-01-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

KAUNAS – A meeting of representatives of Kayi Construction, a company that hired Turkish construction workers who are on strike in Lithuania's second-largest city of Kaunas, and the local authorities is planned on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the State Labor Inspectorate has launched an investigation into the activity of the company's Lithuanian branch.

"We have summoned the company's executives and representatives today for a serious conversation and they should come at some point in the afternoon. As much as we can, we will encourage and pressure them to resolve those problems as soon as possible, pay the workers, resume work and continue complying with the contract," Tada Metelionis, deputy director of administration at Kaunas Municipality, told BNS.

Jurgita Kazukauskaite-Sarnickiene, a communication adviser at the State Labor Inspectorate, told BNS the watchdog launched an investigation into Kayi Construction's Lithuanian branch on Thursday.

"An investigation has been launched by the State Labor Inspectorate today into the Lithuanian branch of the Turkish company," she said.

Turkish workers building a stadium in Kaunas on Tuesday went on a hunger strike over unpaid wages. 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.

Turkey's Kayi Construction, the winner of the city's contract to build the Darius and Girenas Stadium, owes each of its workers between 7,000 and 12,000 euros, according to the trade union.

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 sums they are entitled to. There are problems with the main company which is in Turkey," Beganskas said.

In his words, the problems emerged after other companies failed to pay 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 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.