Industrial Relations in Turkey

Social Dialogue matters

2013 Progress Report on Turkey: What about Industrial Relations?

Yesterday (October 8, 2014), the EU published the 2014 version of the progress report on the accession of Turkey to the EU. The document can be found under this link.

Under the ‘fundamental rights’ section, the progress report criticizes Turkey on the field of industrial relations. The continuing terrorism cases against members of the KESK and DISK confederation are given as examples of how trade unionists are intimidated by the state. The EU also critized the double threshold system for entering in collective bargaining which still keeps effectively obstruct free negotiations in Turkey. Unionism in the public sector, such as in policing, is still obstructed.

Under chapter 19, the social dialogue is discussed. The report states that through the new possibility of registering in a trade union through in online application, the membership increased with 15,2% since July 2013. The report further criticizes the overall low coverage of collective agreements and the restrictive double threshold for collective bargaining.

As almost every year, the report thus concludes that there was some progress in the areas of social policy and employment, yet urges for the following policy initiatives:

  • Obstacles to effective social dialogue should be removed
  • Labour law needs to be amended
  • Working conditions such as health and safety have to be addressed.

This year, the report doesn’t mention the (in)activity of the social and economical council which was established on the explicit request of the EU. It seems like the EU accepted the ineffectiveness of this council.


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