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Turkey: workers protest over illegal procurement practices

30 January 2013
Large demonstration in Turkey
The Turkish Union of Road, Construction and Building Workers (YOL-İŞ), a PSI affiliate, organised an action on 28 January in protest at the non-execution of the decision taken by the Supreme Court of Appeal which proved that “service procurement agreements between the General Directorate of Highways and sub-contracting companies are fictitious”.

Over 5,000 workers joined the demonstration in front of the headquarters of the General Directorate of Highways that called for the termination of illegal procurement practices and the application of their right to organise and to bargain collectively. “Apply the court decision. The principle of the state of law is a constitutional principle. Do what needs to be done!,” Ramazan Ağar, President of YOL-İŞ, said in his speech.

YOL-İŞ started organising  workers employed under sub-contractor agreements in May 2010. These agreements provided for employment in the works of the General Directorate of Highways. In the preceding period, YOL-İŞ organized 6,400 workers and notified the employer of its request to cover those workers in the current collective bargaining agreement. Not only was the request not put into practice by the employer, but YOL-İŞ members’ contracts were terminated.

According to the Turkish Code of Labor, such business relations between the Directorate and sub-contractors are illegal. The courts ruled in favor of workers in 5,939 legal cases opened by YOL-İŞ against the directorate. In a hearing on on 25 October 2011, the Supreme Court of Appeal also upheld the reintegration of the workers whose contracts had been terminated, approving that YOL-İŞ members should have been the employees of the General Directorate of Highways from the beginning of their first contracts, and that they should have been included in current collective bargaining agreements.

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