Image Map

Amnesty International's Concerns in Turkey

In July the indictment was presented in the case of more than 30 members of
the Confederation of Public Sector Trade UNIONs (KESK) accused of
membership of the PKK. AI was concerned that the
evidence contained within the indictment regarded their UNION’s support for
Kurdish language rights and other legitimate UNION activities and did not
demonstrate their participation in or advocacy of violence. In November the 22
members of KESK who had been held in pre-trial detention were released
pending the outcome of the trial.

Also in December, more than 40 employees of the Turkish State Railways were
suspended following a one-day strike by UNION members regarding their right to
collective bargaining and right to strike. A spokesperson for Turkish State
Railways said that as state employees, they did not have the right to strike in
law and that the action taken was therefore illegal. Despite government
commitments to address the issue, national law failed to uphold public sector
workers’ right to strike as protected under International Labour Organization
(ILO) standards to which Turkey is a party. .

Trade UNION rights more broadly remained insufficiently protected in national
law. Despite government statements indicating that legal amendments aimed
at bringing national law into conformity with international standards on trade
UNION rights could be brought before Parliament, no progress was made during
the period under review. Earlier in the year, the International Labour
Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts had issued a series of
recommendations to the Turkish authorities to bring legislation into line with
ILO standards. In particular the Committee stressed the right to organize, the
right to strike and the right to bargain collectively, for both the private and
public sectors, as areas where national law failed to uphold ILO standards to
which Turkey is party. These recommendations had not been acted upon at the
end of the period under review.

Amnesty International’s Concerns in Turkey, July to December 2009, Section of Workers’ Rights