Industrial Relations in Turkey

Social Dialogue matters

Strikes in Turkey: An endangered event?

Organizing is strike in Turkey is not without danger. The legislative restrictions are strict and retaliation from the side of the employer is not uncommon. As a result, strikes are becoming very rare in the Turkish industrial relations. Is a Turkish strike becoming an ‘endangered event’?

According to the official statistics of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (CSGB) this could well be the case. The figure below show the amount of official strikes held in both the private and public sector in the last 5 years, plus the amount of concerned workers. Since 2007, both the amount of strikes and the amount of concerned workers dropped sharply. In 2011 only 9 official strikes were reported which mobilized a total of 557 workers. Knowing that there are over 9,5 million registered employees in Turkey, the strike rate of 2011 is 0.00006%.

StrikesTurkey2007-2011

This very low, and continuously declining striking activity stands of course in relation with the frequent violations of trade union rights in Turkey. The yearly survey of trade union rights violations of ITUC (here) clearly demonstrate some key problems which lead to a low strike activity. As such, union militants and union members are frequently dismissed or intimidated by the employer, police intimidation and arrest of union activists is still a daily reality. But also legal obstacles to strike activities remain in place, even after the recent adaptation of the legislation.

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