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Turkish unions discuss social dialogue and EU integration

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25 September, 2013IndustriALL Global Union together with industriAll European Trade Union joined representatives of Turkish trade unions on 19 and 20 September 2013 to discuss issues related to social dialogue in Turkey as well as country’s integration in the European Union.

More than 30 participants from Turkish union confederations TURK-IS, DISK and HAK-IS representing workers in different gathered together in Ankara for the fourth regional workshop within the project “Decent work for workers in industriAll sectors” was dedicated to the Turkish trade unions and was organized in cooperation with IndustriALL Global Union.

The Turkish economy is vitally important both inside and outside European market, which is why the cooperation between the IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll European Trade Union is crucial.

The speakers included representatives from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the EU Delegation to Turkey and the Ministry of EU Integration. Jeff Bridgfort (ETUC special advisor) introduced the models and achievements of industrial relations in the EU to bridge to the presentation on social dialogue and industrial relations in Turkey. A core issue was decent work conditions and the compliance with ILO labour standards in Turkey.

Luc Triangle, Deputy General Secretary of industriAll European Trade Union, emphasized that the social and labour standards in Turkey are the highest priority on the way to country’s accession to the EU. “We will continue stressing the fact of day-to-day violations against ILO core standards, especially with regards to the freedom of association and collective bargaining, towards the EU institutions and towards the multinational companies who are investing in Turkey. This factor needs to gain equal recognition also at EU level next to the political demands in the integration discussions”, Triangle said.

The participants looked at Turkish labour law and social dialogue concept within the context of different models existing in Europe. The IndustriAll Europian Trade Union believes that “in connection to the negotiations for Turkey to join the EU, for European trade unions the focus must be on chapter 19 in the social negotiations. This is by far the only criterion that Turkey must meet in order to join the EU”.

A meeting, attended by five unions Petrol-Is, Teksif, Deri-Is, Oziplik-Is and Celik-Is, intended to set up a women's Network of IndustriAll unions in Turkey preceded the workshop. The participants decided to start working on the issues of maternity protection and violence. TEKSIF will be the first to lead the network.

Carol Bruce, director of the Women’s network of IndustriALL Global Union, emphasized the importance of focusing the trade union’s work in Turkey on gender equality to encourage women to join trade unions. “The issue of gender equality is important not only for Turkish trade unions, but has to be stronger integrated in the structures and agendas of all European trade unions,” Bruce said.