Trade union rights in Turkey - EPSU / ETUC joint letter to Prime Minister
(15 February 2011) Dear Prime Minister,
We are informed by our Turkish member organizations affiliated to the national centers KESK and DISK of a further example of repression of trade union rights in Turkey. In the particular case we refer to, trade union action against the new legal arrangements proposed by the AKP aiming to reduce labour and trade union rights was brutally suppressed by police intervention.
The legislation is to establish flexible and insecure working schedules and allows managers of private institutions to also head public bodies. Productivity criteria are being introduced in the public sector, creating precarious forms of work.
A series of meetings and protest actions was organized on 3 February in Ankara by KESK and DISK member organizations together with the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and the Turkish Architect and Engineering Chamber (TMMOB) to demonstrate their opposition to this legislation.
The local government authorities of Ankara declared the protest actions illegal in an attempt to limit the number of protestors. Despite this type of intimidation tactics used by the government authorities, nearly 8.000 people came together for the demonstration. Police forces intervened and built barricades in front of the protestors, making excessive use of tear gas to block the march. The police attacked the demonstration which included several Members of the Turkish Parliament who were injured by tear gas. A young woman participating in the protest march was seriously wounded because of the tear gas and is still in hospital.
The ETUC and EPSU reiterate their deep concerns about the continued and systematic violation of trade union rights in Turkey. We have repeatedly denounced the arbitrary victimization of trade union activists in the public sector in particular and brought these cases to your attention. We condemn the disproportionate intervention by the police forces on 3 February and demand an immediate investigation of the incidents.
Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, EPSU General Secretary
John Monks, ETUC General Secretary