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International Trade UNION Movement is calling for rejection of the new law

On several occasions, the International Trade UNION Confederation (ITUC) along with the European Trade UNION Confederation (ETUC) and the Council of Global UNIONs expressed its concerns and demands to the Turkish government regarding the new law.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) also drafted a memorandum that pointed out numerous articles of the draft law that violate ILO standards such as Convention 87 on Freedom of Association Protection of the Right to Organise and Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining. The European Commission has also been very critical of the current law, which unfortunately has not been improved with this new one.

“It is not the first time that we need to remind Turkey that it has ratified the relevant ILO Convention. It is the responsibility of the authorities and therefore President Gül to make sure that those international laws and commitments are enforced and respected. Turkish workers have the legitimate right to be protected by the law,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

The major hurdles for effective industrial relations that have been denounced by the international trade UNION movement have not been repealed. This is the case with the national sectoral thresholds used in the process of UNION certification for collective bargaining as well as with restrictive workplace and enterprise level thresholds.

Furthermore, with the merger of sectors (from 28 to 20 as of today), nearly 28 UNIONs will lose their capacity to negotiate by 2018. The new law maintains restrictions on the right to strike and keeps bureaucratic barriers related to UNION membership and the collective bargaining process. Finally, a new article will deprive around 6 million workers of the protection of UNION membership. Additional compensation in cases of anti-UNION dismissals in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) employing less than 30 workers has been removed. Those SMEs represent 70% of the total labour market.

“We are outraged to see that the Turkish authorities are not taking into account either our concerns or those of the ILO, and are also not taking into account the recommendations of the European Commission. This is not what we call an effective social dialogue,” added Burrow. If President Gül signs the new law, 6.5 million workers will not be able to exercise their legitimate right to collective bargaining. Six million workers working in SMEs will not be protected against dismissal and anti-UNION discrimination. This is clearly unacceptable.

For the International trade UNION movement, if it is essential that Turkey needs a new trade UNION law, it is clear that it’s not a law of this kind, as it adds new problems to the existing one. In a letter sent to the Turkish authorities, The Council of Global UNIONs and the ETUC urge President Gül to veto the new trade UNION law, as the Constitution gives him responsibility to oversee the Parliamentary work and ensure conformity with the Constitution and international law.