Turkish unions confront precarious work
At a conference organized by ICEM, IMF and ITGLWF, affiliates of all three global unions debated how unions should respond to the increase in precarious work in Turkey.
TURKEY: For the first time, representatives of all twenty future affiliates of IndustriALL (current affiliates of IMF, ICEM and ITGLWF) came together in Ankara on April 25 and 26 to discuss the growing problem posed in Turkey by precarious work.
The meeting took place in the context of the Turkish government putting forward legislation for a ‘new employment strategy' which, if passed, will severely curtail trade union rights and expand precarious employment. According to Musa Servi of national centre Deri-Is, the government's strategy is an attack on unions. He told delegates that, "We need to take a national and international position against this attack on workers that is precarious work."
Part of the government's legislative reform package is to expand subcontracting. This will have particularly severe impacts on the textiles sector with the result that unionization and collective agreements will decrease with the resulting spread of private employment agencies.
Adnan Serdaroglu, President of IMF affiliate Birlesik Metal-Is, told conference delegates that "Precarious work is like a cancer that infiltrates into all parts of the international union movement and is taking away all our rights. Governments everywhere are legislating to legitimize precarious employment. Precarious practices are becoming the main rules of labour relations and employers are calling it ‘flexibility'."
IMF affiliates from Germany, Netherlands and Sweden were also present at the conference and shared their experiences of precarious work with the Turkish unions and a speaker from the workers' bureau of the International Labour Organization (ILO) told delegates how ILO standards can be used to protect precarious workers.
Actions taken so far by Turkish unions include providing training for subcontracted workers, recognizing that such workers are not well aware of their rights and do not even always know who they are actually employed by. Other unions have submitted amendments to the government which include recognizing a work relationship between the subcontracted worker and the real employer, and making wages and conditions for subcontracted workers the same as for regular workers. Apr 30, 2012 – Jenny Holdcroft