Today (July 12) the IUF filed a complaint with the International Labour Organisation’s Committee on Freedom of Association regarding the government of Turkey’s violations of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 which protect workers’ rights to freely organize trade unions and to collectively bargain.
- The complaint, which cites Cargill, Olam Group and Döhler Group, details how Turkish law and practice fail to provide both sufficient protection against and effective remedy in cases of anti-union dismissal; a loophole in Turkish law permits employers in Turkey to pay enhanced compensation, at their own choosing, to a worker unfairly dismissed for union activity rather than comply with court-ordered reinstatement
- As the complaint demonstrates, employers, like transnational companies Cargill, Olam Group and Döhler Group, illegally dismiss union leaders, systematically exploit this loophole in Turkish law and opt to pay for their human rights violations rather than reinstate the victimized workers, all to prevent their employees from organizing a union
While the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association has on repeated occasions expressed that the appropriate remedy for a retaliatory dismissal because of trade union activity is reinstatement, the government of Turkey, despite its ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98, has allowed this legal loophole to remain; the complaint calls for the closing of this loophole and demands Turkey comply with international standards.
Dismissed Cargill Turkey worker Faik Kutlu stated: “The company would rather try to buy me off than respect my right to form and join a union. The government must close the loophole that makes this legal and ensure that my rights and those of my coworkers are respected, now and in the future.”
IUF General Secretary Sue Longley added, “It is time to close the loophole in Turkish law & practice that allows companies to crush unions and workers’ organizing efforts in violation of their fundamental rights. The Turkish government has ratified the ILO Conventions on freedom of association; it’s time the laws reflect that.”