Solidarity with Turkish unions on public service pay

Turkish public sector workers demand better pay

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) have followed closely the collective bargaining rounds in the Turkish public sector, informed throughout by our affiliates.

For years, ITUC and ETUC have been campaigning for fair wages, the reduction of inequalities, and the fight against poverty. Wage increases must at a minimum compensate for inflation, which – contrary to what the Turkish Central Bank claims – was running at 18.5% in July 2021 and is forecast by the OECD to be 12.8% in 2022. A lower pay increase than that for cleaners, secretaries and other already low paid public sector workers would reduce the purchasing power of public employees, increasing in-work poverty for public employees and their families.

In March, the ETUC, with the support of the ITUC, condemned the decision of the President of Turkey to pull his country out of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention): a devastating signal to women and girls in Turkey and across the world. Collective bargaining arrangements should include the impact – not just economic - on women workers and on equality between the sexes.

We are concerned that the government of Turkey is not complying with the requirement for inclusivity and transparency in ILO Convention 98 on the right to organise and collective bargaining.

And, as we have pointed out before, Turkish law is too restrictive on the right to strike in the public sector as protected by ILO Convention 87 on freedom of association and protection of the right to organise.

We support our affiliates in calling for a new approach to collective bargaining over public sector workers' pay in Turkey.

The ITUC and ETUC therefore express our solidarity with the actions of our affiliates in Turkey and urge the Turkish government to bargain collectively and in good faith with all the representatives of Turkish public sector workers.