Continuing pressure on Turkish unions - health workers union leader arrested

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

On May the first, International Workers Day (IWD) we received the sad news of the arrest of Zeynep Çelik a nurse and former Executive Committee member of EPSU Turkish affiliate Dev-Sağlık-İş (DISK).

This week EPSU’s General Secretary will be part of an international trade union delegation travelling to Turkey to witness the plight of public sector trade unionists in Turkey, due to the on-going purges which have become a feature of life, in the aftermath of the failed coup. For information on the delegation’s progress please check out EPSU’s Twitter feed. We would also call on all our members and affiliates to support our Turkish solidarity fund, details on how you can contribute to the fund, can also be found in this edition of the newsletter.

In the lead-up to the May Day celebrations, the European Commission published proposals on the European Pilar of Social Rights (EPSR). This initiative is a response to growing anger of European citizens who have not been impressed with how the Commission and Member States have responded to the economic crisis, with damaging austerity measures. These ill thought-out austerity policies have impacted negatively on workers rights, pay and working conditions. EPSU recognises that these new EPSR proposals are small steps in the right direction, in terms of re-building and bolstering social Europe, we cannot hide our disappointment regarding the limited scope of these measures. EPSU will monitor and push for a more progressive agenda, read more on our initial response to the EPSR proposals. The most concrete part of the EPSR is the improvement of work-life balance and paternal leave, areas we have campaigned for an improvement in legislation, for a number of years. It is also extremely disappointing to see employers organisations such as BusinessEurope seeking to deny workers the small improvements, which the EPSR proposals offer. We will vigorously oppose employers regressive approach to parental leave and the others measures, announced last week.

We also report on our productive meeting with Commissioner Andriukaitis, under the auspices of HOSPEEM. This meeting addressed a range of public health and health promotion issues, within the framework of an active social partnership.

The Commission has also published its interpretation on the Working Time Directive which will require close scrutiny by us. The directive deals with the concept of on-call duty and says travel time between visits to patients is working time. This is important for many workers  such as those employed in home care. Employers want to avoid paying for this working time, we will reject such move!

This edition of our newsletter also covers our commemoration of International Workers Memorial Day, where we focused on the health and safety issues facing firefighters, which were addressed at their network meeting, held in Brussels. We also report on further developments of the ETUC-led Pay Rise campaign.