Turkish government seeks ‘flexible’ labor act
ISTANBUL – Anadolu AgencyThe government has met some of Turkey’s major unions on March 31 ahead of major planned labor-law reforms that would allow private employment agencies to create temporary working relations.
Labor Ministry deputy undersecretary Ali Kemal Sayın said the changes were needed to harmonize the law with directives from the European Union and the International Labor Organization.
Sayın told an Istanbul University conference that the new law would lead to a decline in the number of unregistered employed, as bosses would be able to easily hire workers for short-term contracts through private agencies.
“[Turkey’s] job market needs flexibility. Rigid rules cause negativity,” he said.
Esra Belen, a labor specialist from the Confederation of Employer Unions of Turkey (TİSK), announced the group’s support for the bill, describing it as “critical for the job market in Turkey” and also claiming it would strengthen the international competitiveness of Turkish companies.
However, a number of leading workers’ bodies, including the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) and the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TÜRK-İŞ), strongly disapprove of the new regulations.
Tevfik Güneş, the job safety manager for DİSK, said Turkish people already work the longest hours out of all OECD member countries, adding that working conditions would deteriorate further if the bill goes into force.
Meanwhile, TÜRK-İŞ’s Mehmet Çetin claimed that the proposed system – which he described as “slavery” – was against the European Convention on Human Rights.
DİSK and TÜRK-İŞ have both formally announced that they are against the proposed law in its current form.
Turkey’s parliament prepared a draft law in February that would allow for the establishment of private employment agencies. These agencies would be permitted to create temporary working relations between employees and employers, making it easier to hire and fire.
A number of labor and employer unions were invited to the preparation process in parliament.
However, DİSK, which consists of 22 labor unions with over 100,000 members, has already organized campaigns and protests against the law in Istanbul and Ankara.
It claims that the new labor act would lead to the break-up of the Turkish job market, saying workers would be employed in lowered standards with less pay.
Parliament is expected to vote on the new labor act in May, Sayın told Anadolu Agency.