Industrial Relations in Turkey

Social Dialogue matters

EU Progress Report 2012: What about Industrial Relations?

On the 10th of October, the 2012 EU progress report on Turkey was published (link). As in previous reports, the EU evaluates Turkish progress on different fields, including trade union rights and social dialogue.

Regarding social dialogue, the EU says there’s ‘limited progress’ in Turkey. The new trade union law for the civil service is mentioned as a step forwards as it grants collective bargaining rights to the public servants (p 65). Nevertheless, according to the EU, the law is still not in line with the EU and ILO standards.

Furthermore, the pending law on the collective labour relations in the private sector is criticized harshly by the EU. This upcoming law which is to replace the infamous laws no 2821 and 2822, doesn’t meet the EU and ILO standards either. It contains high thresholds for collective bargaining and thus limits the right to collective bargaining.

The report also mentions the newly enacted strike ban in the aviation sector and the fact that over 300 workers were fired because of their participation in the strike action (more info here).

For the first time the EU progress report also mentions the extremely low unionization rate and coverage of collective agreements in Turkey. As a cause, the EU points to the legislation and the continued state interference in labour union affairs. Also the breaking up of demonstrations and the frequent imprisonment of labour union activists are mentioned.

Evaluation: In comparison with previous progress reports of the EU (here), the 2012 report is particularly detailed about what goes wrong in terms of labour rights and social dialogue in Turkey. The report even goes beyond the mere description of what happened the last year in the field, but even mentioned more long-term tendencies in Turkish industrial relations in Turkey, such as the low unionization rate and low coverage of collective agreements.

Published: 17 October 2012

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