Lawmakers OK new labor code

Lawmakers OK new labor code

Lawmakers OK new labor code

Turkish Airlines employees had have protests against a last minute code that banned strikes in the aviation sector. Hürriyet photo

Turkey’s long awaited labor code was approved by Parliament late on Oct. 18, promising a resolution to the salary rise problems of hundreds of thousands of workers, along with other major regulations in work life.

The most significant part of the code, which had been discussed by the government, employees and trade unions for months, was the authorization limit for unions in each sector.

The former sector barrier of 10 percent has been brought down to 3 percent with the new law. However, the initial limit has been held at 1 percent until July 2016, after which it will be increased to 2 percent for the period until July 2018.

More than 300,000 workers have been waiting for salary increases because of the dispute that continued for about 10 months.

After the approval of the law, Labor Minister Faruk Çelik said in a parliamentary speech that the code lifted obstacles to work life. Unions whose members exceed 50 percent in each workplace will be authorized to hold collective bargaining talks two and a half months from now, he added.

Turkey’s large union federations claim that the number of unionized workers is around 3.2 million, but the ministry insists that the real number is below 940,000.

The ministry is now set to reveal the number of unionized workers in 20 defined sectors.

Along with trade unions, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), the Turkish Confederation of Employers’ Unions (TİSK), and the International Labor Organization (ILO) took part in discussions on the new code.

Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-İş) Chair Mahmut Arslan told Anatolia news agency that finalizing a code that gives a chance of collective bargaining to around 400,000 workers was a success, but conceded that not all of their demands had been satisfied.

However, Erol Ekici, head of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), which had withdrawn from talks, criticized the law, as it gives the employee right to fire unionized workers without severance at workplaces with less than 30 employees.