Social Dialogue matters
Although Kamu-Sen and Memur-Sen are the two largest public sector union confederations in Turkey, they are both not affiliated to the ITUC or the ETUC. KESK, the third largest public sector union confederation, on the other hand is affiliated to both international union organizations. Both confederations nevertheless applied for membership to various international organizations, yet were rejected several times. This is nevertheless not very exceptional. Hak-Is was also rejected for ICFTU and ETUC membership in 1993 after protest of the other Turkish union confederations DISK & Türk-Is. Their membership was nevertheless accepted in 1997 and 1996 respectively (source)
In this blog, we briefly review this matter.
Already in 1999, Kamu-Sen (and Memur-Sen) applied for membership to the ICFTU (source)
Kamu-Sen applied for membership to the ICFTU (on of the organizations merged into ITUC) in 2006. Nevertheless, they were rejected membership after a ICFTU mission to Turkey. According to the ICFTU statement Kamu-Sen (just as Memur-Sen) didn’t meet the criteria for the international labour movement.
According to a document of the EPSU (here), Kamu-Sen never applied for membership to the ETUC.
Memur-Sen applied for membership to the ICFTU in 2006. They application was rejected because of opposition of DISK, KESK & Türk-Is.
They applied again in 2011, nevertheless Memur-Sen was rejected membership again. According to various news websites, the ITUC management committee decided to reject Memur-Sen’s application because Memur-Sen was seen as not ‘independent enough’. Memur-Sen president Ahmet Gündoğdu reacted on that stating that if there are two confederations that are not independent in Turkey, it are DISK and KESK (which are members of the ITUC) (link).
Nevertheless, it seems that Memur-Sen is decided to apply for membership to both the ITUC and ETUC again in the near future (link).