Despite Turkey’s ratification of ILO Core Conventions that support the fundamental rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining, government regulations in Turkey place burdensome requirements on workers seeking to organize, blocking their ability to exercise these rights.
One especially problematic restriction requires unions to meet a double membership threshold before negotiating a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on behalf of workers in a given factory. The two thresholds require that:
1. The union must represent more than 40 percent of the workforce of a single employer or factory group (or more than half of the workers in a single factory), and
2. The union must also represent a certain percentage of workers within the entire industry sector.
These restrictions apply regardless of the size of the factory or factories in question, or the size of the workforce the union is attempting to organize. For FLA affiliates sourcing apparel and footwear from Turkey, the applicable sector (“Textiles, Ready-Made Clothing, and Leather”) includes more than one million workers, making it practically impossible for many unions to reach the industry threshold even when they represent the majority of the workers in a given factory.
Please find our full issue brief on this topic below.