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On Draft Law of Collective Labor Relations

Parliament negotiations on Draft Law of Collective Labor Relations have started last week. Following the negotiations on and voting of first three articles of the Law, since the crisis between Turkey and Syria had emerged, negotiations were suspended. However the law is still on agenda of Parliament and it is expected that the negotiations will re-start within this week.

In the opening of the negotiations, The Minister of Labour and Social Security and other government representatives argued that, Draft Law of Collective Labour Relations was in conformity with ILO Conventions and international standards and it would be a step towards opening of 19th Chapter in terms of EU accession process.

In other words, the Government represented a Law which is totally contradicting with ILO Conventions, UN Conventions, EU Conventions and legislation as a successful law that would upgrade Turkish national legislation to ILO and EU level.

As we have mentioned several times, the Draft Law, is nothing but a re-formulation of the actual, military coup heritage UNION Laws with a different make-up. There are few improvements in the Law however, in general, it does not meet UNIONs’ demands and expectations and it does not comply with international conventions and standards.

Since we have sent a comprehensive analysis of the Draft Law in terms of how it contradicts with ILO Conventions, it is enough to underline the fact that the Law does not provide adequate protection for right to organize, right to bargain collectively and right to strike. The Law does not remove the obstacles to enjoy UNION rights it does not remove the limitations and prohibitions on UNION rights.

As we have noted before, in spite of ILO’s recommendation that the double numerical criteria should be totally removed the Draw Law, stipulates that, the UNIONs which have one percent of representation in the branch of business in which they operate will be over the “threshold of branch of business” and they will be authorized to engage in collective negotiations if they represent 50 percent of workers in a workplace and 40 percent of workers in an entrepreneurship. 

As it is known DISK, demands total removal of thresholds and does not accept one percent of branch of business threshold.

However, the Government plans to worsen it. According to the statements of Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Government plans to re-regulate the branch of business threshold with a last minute alteration motion in Parliament. According to the government’s plan, the branch of business threshold will be 1 percent for first four years, 2 percent for following two years and then it will be 3 percent permanently.

It is a declaration of supreme punishment to UNION movement in Turkey.

According to the recent report of DISK Research Unit, taking the number of workers and UNION members into consideration, such a gradual threshold will de-authorize at least 29 UNIONs out of 50 currently authorized UNIONs:

–          10 UNIONs will remain under 1 percent threshold,

–          Another 12 UNIONs will remain under 2 percent threshold,

–          Another 7 UNIONs will remain under 3 percent threshold.

–          At the end of six years, 6 out 7 authorized UNIONs from DISK, 17 out of 34 authorized UNIONs from Turk-Is and 5 out of 8 authorized UNIONs from Hak-Is will remain under the threshold.

In addition to that

–          There will not be any authorized UNION in 8 different branch of business at the end of 6 years,

–          6,5 million workers will be deprived of right to bargain collectively, since there won’t be any authorized UNION in the branch of business they work.

–          UNIONs of 30.000 workers will be de-authorized in the first year and it will increase to 276.000 workers at the end of six years,

–          28 percent of workers will not have right to freely choose a UNION to organize, since there will be only one authorized UNION in 5 different branches of business.

The government argues that, UNIONs should “work” to overcome threshold in following years. However, in such an anti-UNION climate, violation of UNION rights and inadequate legal protection, it is nearly impossible for many of the UNIONs to achieve an enormous growth in following six years. An example from branch of business of “textile and leather” points it out: Three out of four authorized UNIONs will remain under the threshold. Oz Iplik-Is UNION must grow 80,8 percent, Tekstil UNION must grow 108 percent and Deri-Is UNION must grow 1217 percent in following six years.

Despite our critics and ILO reports and recommendations, the Government, insists on passing the Law by the means of its majority in the Parliament.

In that sense we kindly request you to write letters to Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Security and remind them that the Draft Law is not in compliance with ILO and EU norms and standards and call them to adopt a regulation/measure to protect the authority/competence of authorized/competent UNIONs.

As it has been doing so, government may not take your criticisms and calls into consideration, however these letters will provide UNIONs and opposing parties in parliament to increase public awareness and force government to re-consider the law.