Industrial Relations in Turkey

Social Dialogue matters

Collective Agreements in Turkey – 1989 to 2011

In Turkey, negotiating and concluding a collective agreement is not simple. For a start, a union wishing to start negotiations on a collective agreements, needs to reach the so-called ‘double threshold‘. Therefore, only unions which have more than 50% of the workers on the establishment level as their members and more than 10% of the workers of the concerned sector nationwide can rightfully negotiate and conclude a collective agreement.

This is an efficient obstacle for the development of an intensive social dialogue and social compromising on the company level.

The first graph shows the amount of collective agreements concluded every year. The evolution of the numbers of collective agreements fluctuates significantly until 2006. Since then, a stabilization is observed.

Nevertheless, when we focus on the amount of workers covered by the collective agreements, the situation is less neutral. As can be seen in the second graph, a clear downward trend is present in the amount of workers covered by collective agreements in Turkey.

The European Commissions’ 2011 progress report on Turkey (here), explicitly condemns the stringent regulation on collective bargaining in Turkey. In 2012 a new law on unions and collective bargaining was agreed upon in the Turkish parliament. This new law should relax the conditions on collective bargaining and lead to a increase in the collective bargaining coverage in Turkey. It’s effectiveness is still unknown.

Last update: 22 October 2012

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