Turkish union confederation appoints new head amid ongoing management battle

Turkish union confederation appoints new head amid ongoing management battle

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s largest union confederation, Türk-İş, has selected its new head following the resignation of the former occupant of the position, over allegations of him collaborating with business owners.

Mustafa Kumlu, who was the chairman of the confederation for six years, submitted his resignation to the board on Sept. 2, citing the irresolvable problems in the board that had been ongoing since the 2011 General Board Assembly.

The ex-chairman was accused of signing a “secret protocol” with Turkey’s two largest employee organizations, the Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) and the Turkish Confederation of Employers’ Unions (TİSK), along with another confederation Hak-İş.

The board members claimed then that Kumlu approved the law clause that blocked the union compensation claim right for 6.5 million workers employed in businesses with fewer than 30 workers, according to this protocol.

While Kumlu denied the accusations, Secretary-general Pevrul Kavlak said the chairman had told them he didn’t sign the protocol but they later learned that he had.

“This caused mistrust among the board. If he explained his reasoning, maybe we could support him,” Kavlak told daily Hürriyet. “We don’t want to work with him anymore.”

New chairman speculated

The confederation Sept.3 elected Ergün Atalay, former financial general secretary, as the new board chairman, as was expected.

But, despite Kumlu stepping down to put an end to the management crisis, the new head will likely face problems as well.

One of the most influential figures of the union, Tek Gıda İş Chairman Mustafa Türkel, has claimed Kumlu’s resignation was a government operation.

“Mustafa Kumlu didn’t resign. He was forced to resign. This is the latest move for pacification of the union movement and to end Türk-İş. The Turkish union movement has never faced this much pressure and suppression, even during the disorder times,” he said.