COSATU calls on the Turkish government to abstain from interfering in internal affairs of the Confederation of Public Employees´ Trade Unions (KESK)

COSATU has been informed that the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services has refused to allow Mr Mehmet Bozgeyik and Ms Aysun Gezen – KESK Co-Presidents – to represent the Confederation in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations, on the grounds that they have been dismissed from the public services.

Turkey has ratified International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 87 on freedom of association, which explicitly stipulates that every worker has the right to establish and join the organisation of his/her own choosing. Article 3 of Convention 87 states, that “workers’ and employers’ organisations shall have the right to draw up their constitutions and rules” and that “the public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof”.

Furthermore, we refer to the discussion that took place in June this year at the Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) of the ILO, examining the application of Convention 87 by Turkey. During this the session, the Turkish government was repeatedly urged to follow the recommendations of the ILO Committee of Experts (CEACR) regarding excessive interference in trade union activities by public authorities contrary to Article 3 of Convention 87.

COSATU urges the Turkish Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services (and his office) to desist from interfering in the internal affairs of KESK. We express our grave concern with the systematic violations of trade union rights in Turkey, which are contrary to the commitments made by the country’s government at an international level. We have communicated this concern with the Minster, and look forward to receiving confirmation that KESK will be able to nominate whomsoever it decides, to negotiate on behalf of its members.

Issued by COSATU

 Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794