Turkey’s main Trade Union Confederations are actively campaigning against the national government’s attempt to amend the country’s current Labor Law. Through an Omnibus Law, the Turkish government seeks to expand the coverage of fixed-term employment contracts, which cover workers under 25 and over 50 years of age and undermine their right to severance pay.
Through various online and offline protest actions, TURK-IS, DISK and HAK-IS have demanded the immediate withdrawal of the proposed law change. The unions have warned the government about the possibility of a general strike if it insists on passing the bill. In the 2000s, the Turkish government has tried to amend the Labor Law and undermine the right to severance pay; benefit that is considered by the government as an additional burden for employers.
Last June, the government tried to transform workers’ severance pay into a pension fund system, but was thwarted by strong resistance from unions.
The unions affiliated to BWI, the Turkish Union of Construction and Construction Workers (YOL-IS), the Turkish Union of Cement, Ceramic and Glass Industry Workers (CIMSE-IS), the Turkish Union of Workers of the Wood and Paper Industry (AGAC-IS) and the Forest Workers Union (ORMAN-IS), which are all under TURK-IS, also joined forces to oppose this proposal.
“BWI affiliates have organized street protests and spoken to various national and local news outlets, in order to pressure Parliament to uphold workers’ right to severance pay. I think we will soon be able to hear some positive news, “said YOL-IS President Ramazan Agar.
For his part, BWI Regional Representative for Europe, Coen van der Veer, pointed out that what is happening in Turkey is part of a long list of so-called reforms that many European governments are pushing for in the name of liberalization and flexibility. .
“We see these ‘reforms’ as clear and well-defined attempts by governments to limit the social progress that unions have made over the past 100 years. Turkey and our affiliates are not new to this. Through their concerted efforts, we will stop this. last assault on labor rights and we will prevail, “he concluded.