Labor Unions Labor-employee relations in Turkey have been relatively stable in recent years. The Turkish labor force is about 25million with roughly 12 percent of employees who belong to some form of a union. Industrial workers and public sector employees are permitted to engage in collective bargaining but they must adhere to a series of steps including negotiation and nonbinding mediation prior to calling for a strike. The law also prohibits unions from engaging in secondary, political, or general strikes involving multiple unions over a large geographical area. In general most strikes are small, infrequent and almost always peaceful. They do not typically impede operations or cause businesses to shut down.
Turkish law prevents business from discriminating against unions, however instances have occurred occasionally. Turkey has frequently faced criticism by the International Labor Organization (ILO) for its lack of effort and inconsistent enforcement regarding workers rights to association and rights to strike. Turkey has committed to several ILO conventions including Minimum Wage, Rights to Organize and Bargain Collectively and Abolition of Forced Labor. Turkey’s labor laws are somewhat comparable to U.S. labor laws due in part to international pressures from foreign countries and international human rights organizations. Turkey has several labor laws in place to protect children-- mostly in large industrial and service sector industries, and has general health and safety regulations for all workers. Despite implementing child labor laws, some Turkish businesses still use child labor.
Turkey has several important labor unions which include Confederation of Public Sector Unions or KESK, Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions or DISK, Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or MUSIAD, Moral Rights Workers Union or Hak-Is, Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions or TISK, Turkish Confederation of Labor or Turk-Is, Turkish Confederation of Tradesmen and Craftsmen or TESK, Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or TUSIAD,Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges or TOBB. Most have been known to work cooperatively through employee-labor disputes as employers are urged by the government to negotiate with these unions. Because the labor laws require a series of steps before a strike can occur most have consistently resolved their disputes before moving to a strike.