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DİSK’s Statement on 10th European Regional Meeting of ILO:

DİSK Presidential Council met on 27th of September 2017, in order to evaluate developments in working life in Turkey, and examine details regarding the ILO European Regional Meeting. We would like to share the decisions made in this meeting with both the public in Turkey and the international community.

As it is known, ITUC and ETUC took a decision not to join the ILO European Regional Meeting which will take place in Istanbul between 2-5 October 2017.

ITUC’s call in this direction had broad repercussions among the unions in the region; the majority of unions from 51 countries declared that they would not join this meeting. Now, governments, ILO and UN Institutions are confronted with the following question; is it possible to discuss problems of working life in a place where labour rights are absent and in meetings where workers are not participating?

ITUC and ETUC have been working for many years in order to improve working conditions, guarantee freedom of speech and rule of law in Turkey. Recently, after the 15 July coup attempt, international union organizations sent two High Level delegations to Turkey and, as a result of these affiliates’ visits in Turkey, DİSK, Türk –İş, Hak-İş and KESK published declarations with joint signatures.

ITUC and ETUC communicated their concerns and demands regarding the situation of workers in Turkey to concerned parties through both meetings with the Minister of Labour and the AKP Group Deputy Chairman, as well as through a great number of reports they have published. Unfortunately, no constructive steps were taken by the government in accordance to the demands of international labour movement.

DİSK worked diligently on the organization of this meeting in Istanbul with the conviction that it might potentially help solve some of the many problems workers are faced with. In our meetings with ILO and ITUC, we persistently defended the idea that Istanbul should host this meeting; however, existing problems are not being solved, every day new rights violations take place and pressure towards our members is growing. In addition to this, in the agenda of the meeting there are no items where we can raise our members’ demands.

During the State of Emergency, around 120 thousand public sector employees were expelled from their duties without any procedure or justification, and in municipalities where trustees were appointed, thousands of workers were dismissed. Union member workers, public sector employees, journalists, academics and politicians are under arrest in an unlawful manner. Strikes, press declarations and other union activities are prevented under the pretense of the state of emergency. Under these circumstances, as a part of the international labour movement, DİSK takes a joint position together with unions from 51 countries in the region and will not participate in the ILO European Regional Meeting.

Workers from around the world are following what is taking place in Turkey; the government of Turkey should immediately apply ILO Conventions which in turn should serve as guarantee for decent working conditions for workers; the government should take steps to reinstate unlawfully dismissed workers and public servants. Occupational health and safety measures should be taken in order to stop workplace murders, which are equal to almost the size of a war. Precarious work measures such as undocumented work, subcontracting and agency work should be prevented. Basic rights such as the right to strike, organizing and collective bargaining should be implemented both through laws and practices.

As DİSK, in the light of our joint declaration together with Türk-İş, Hak-İş and KESK as well as the ITUC call, we would like to declare to the public opinion that we shall not join the ILO European Regional Meeting.

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