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Turkey: deadlock in collective negotiations

30 August 2013
PSI has written a letter in support of its affiliate, Genel-Is, in the recent dispute with two of Izmir’s Metropolitan Municipal companies, Izelman and Izenerji. After a deadlock in collective negotiations, and failure to reach an agreement during the subsequent mediation process, Genel-Is took the decision to call a strike for the 26 July, 2013.

Despite the fact that the workers affected by the prohibition to strike were not called upon to do so by Genel-Is, the Higher Board of Arbitration processed the application by the two companies and settled the dispute on 24 July unilaterally concluding collective agreements two days before the planned strike took place.

Considering that the Law on Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements prohibits strikes by some workers, including urban public transportation and city water workers, Genel-Is limited the scope of its strike. Notwithstanding, the employers of Izelman and Izenerji proceeded to apply to the Higher Board of Arbitration on the grounds that it was illegal for their employees to strike. Despite the fact that the workers affected by the prohibition to strike were not called upon to do so by Genel-Is, the Higher Board of Arbitration processed the application by the two companies and settled the dispute on 24 July unilaterally concluding collective agreements two days before the planned strike took place.

This action deprived the workers of a key instrument in negotiating their working conditions, even though the right to strike is foreseen in ILO conventions and the European Social Charter that Turkey has signed. As a result, the companies and the Higher Board of Arbitration violate these international standards.

PSI supports its affiliate in denouncing the legitimacy of the application to the Higher Board of Arbitration and recommends a review of the Board’s decision to ensure that the constitutional rights to freedom of association and the right to strike are fully respected.

 

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