Published: 03/02/2012

Trade union rights in Turkey have long been a cause of concern for the global trade union movement. As a result of legislation imposed by the military regime in 1980, workers in Turkey have been denied their basic rights to freely organize in trade unions, to bargain collectively and to take strike action. Despite government commitments to uphold international labour standards, workers’ rights remain legally restricted and ruthlessly repressed by employers and by the government.

The IUF and its affiliates in Turkey are deeply concerned by the government’s draft law that imposes a 3 percent national sector membership threshold for a trade union to meet before that union can legally engage in collective bargaining with any employer in the sector. The draft law denies to workers the fundamental right to organize and bargain and would cause many unions to be stripped of their collective agreements.

If the Government of Turkey enacts the present draft submitted to a Turkish parliamentary commission on January 31, Turkey will continue to remain in violation its international treaty obligations with respect to ILO conventions.

The international trade union movement clearly expects the Turkish government to modify its legislation in ways that guarantee the free and full exercise of the rights to organize and to bargain collectively and subsequently ensure that such legislation is enforced. It is the duty of the State to protect and promote workers’ rights instead of limiting trade union activity with thresholds.

The IUF and its member organizations call on the Turkish government to immediately revise the draft law to bring it into compliance with ILO Conventions and international labour standards. The IUF will continue to support union action, in Turkey and abroad, to ensure that trade union rights are fully respected in Turkey and accessible to all Turkish workers.