Unions may lose power with new statistics

Unions may lose power with new statistics

Servet Yeşilyurt ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Sector-based statistics regarding the number of trade union members is expected to reveal a lower number of organized workers than previously recorded. This may cause many trade unions to lose rights on collective labor agreements under current labor laws.

According to a law enacted after the Sep. 12, 1980, military coup, a 10 percent threshold was set for the unions to qualify for collective contracts.

However, a draft law to lower this to 0.5 percent has been on the Cabinet’s agenda for the last three months. Unveiling updated figures before the draft law is made into law will cause loss of trade union rights on collective labor agreements, according to daily Cumhuriyet. The deadline to disclose updated data on trade union membership is this morning.

ILO criteria
“Under International Labor Organization [ILO] agreements there should not be any threshold set against trade unions in sectors at all. We demand a full trade union reform compatible with ILO standards,” the general secretary of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), Tayfun Güngör, told the Daily News. He added that DİSK will start industrial action in many cities.

The trade union reforms simply aim to keep pressure on those unions that demand unlimited rights to strike, as well as make the unions accept legal arrangements that prescribe flexible, unsecured and unregulated working conditions, he said.

Another reason for this attempt by the government is to adhere to European Union regulations and pass the 19th chapter that covers the social compatibility criteria, delisting Turkey from the ILO blacklist.

The closure of the trade unions is out of the question, and rights on collective labor agreements are protected by the Constitution and ILO agreements signed by the government, Güngör said.
“The number of trade union members has indeed decreased, but the reason is the anti-democratic Sept. 12 coup,” he said.

labor, union, ILO