Image Map

Sharan Burrow's message to 14th General Assembly of DISK

I congratulate you on this congress and the debates that you will have in the coming days. I know that this is a diffucult time for workers right throughout the world. President Çelebi, the other leaders of DISK and indeed the participants in this congress know that their debates come at a time when we face the greatest unemployment crisis we have ever seen.

210 million people are out of work. The plight of young people, 45 million entering labour markets every year to economies that can’t accomodate them. This is a social and economic time bomb. And of course we fail to see the political will to stand up for job creation for decent work. In fact we see the opposite. The mindless austerity sweeping Europe, killing its economies, killing demand and of course making workers now the victims. Not just of the loss of jobs but indeed stripping away their rights, slashing minumum wages, destroying collective agreements.

It’s just not acceptable. You face, of course, many such challenges with your own labour laws. I congratulate you again for standing up and calling for labour law reform that actually respects core labour standarts of the ILO. I know you have launched your own program in partnership with KESK, social solidarity and democratization. Looking out for the jobs for Turkish workers, for your children and grandchildren, demanding that your domestic economy be developped, that jobs be created, that decent work be at the heart of that. We congratulate you.

We know that you stand up for women, for equality, for fair treatment, for equal treatment and in everything from workplace opportunity to freedom from sexual harresment to equal pay. We know also that you stand at the crossroads geographically in terms of the point between the Arab Spring countries and indeed of course the Asia-Pacific. You are in a very strong position to demonstrate leadership for your brothers and sisters right across those regions and we know that you take that seriously. We thank you for that.

We urge you to send us your deliberations, we look forward to the outcomes and I can say unreservedly that you have support, our solidarity and we look forward to working in partnership with your leaders in the ambitions they have to bring decent work to every Turkish citizen but also in our ambitions more broadly that you share to bring social justice, decent work and stability to the global economy.

Message of the ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow to DISK: