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KESK: Collective Agreement or Strike!

The Confederation of Trade UNIONs of Public Employees (KESK) has pointed out that meetings with the government in previous years did not lead to satisfying results.

Sami Evren, president of KESK, said that since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power in 2002, the annual growth of around 6.2 percent has been paralleled with an average reduction in real wages by 30 percent. Purchasing power has gone down by 40 percent.

“The reason fort his is Law 4688, which leaves public employees at the mercy of the government and allows unilateral declarations.”

He emphasised that “collective meetings” did not amount to “collective labour agreements”.

“It is meaningless for trade UNIONs to meet with the government if their power of sanctions and the right to strike are taken away. In addition, there is no legal obstruction to sitting down at a table right away and signing a collective labour agreement. On the contrary, the political leadership is violating international agreements by not doing so.”

One of the confederation’s demands is a basic wage of 1,500 TL for public employees, minimal wage earners and pensioners. They also demand child care facilities for women, parental leave and breastfeeding leave, and the employment of disabled individuals to fill the legally required quotas.

Evren also called on the government to stop attacking trade UNIONs and to set free the trade UNION members arrested in an operation against KESK.