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Belgesel: Petrol-İş Tarihi

FNV’s organising, social dialogue forum in Turkey comprehensive

ICEM’s two-year project in Turkey on Organising and Social Dialogue, supported by a Dutch labour confederation’s international solidarity arm, FNV Mondiaal, moved forward with its second seminar on 5-6 November, this time in the western Turkish city of Izmir, where ICEM-affiliated trade unions have a strong presence.

The overall objective of the project is to help contribute to the unions’ ability to recruit new members, as well as to discuss the establishment of a base to create a functioning industrial relations system, prioritizing human and trade union rights, and to promote healthy social dialogue in Turkey’s industrial relations system.

The seminar was opened by ICEM General Secretary Manfred Warda, who presented the Global Union Federation’s activities and current work plan. The 60 trade union leaders in attendance then heard a report from ICEM Chemicals and Rubber Industries Officer Kemal Özkan called, “In the Framework of Globalisation and the European Union Organising and Social Dialogue.”

Besides Turkish local trade union leaders, shop stewards, and militants in attendance, the meeting also saw participation by several international trade union leaders from the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden. Celil Çoban and Mail Ürker of FNV Bondgenoten, the Netherlands, exchanged their experiences and knowledge with Turkish colleagues, while Fons Welters, Chairman of Works Council of the Dutch chemicals company, Akzo Nobel, explained social dialogue inside his company.

Akzo Nobel operates in Turkey without union representation. In this framework, FNV Bondgenoten and ICEM Turkish affiliate Petrol-İş made a pact to cooperate on organising Akzo Nobel’s staff in Turkey.

Other speakers, giving their respective country perspectives and presenting their trade union structures, included Michael Mersmann, Head of the International Department, Germany’s IGBCE; Jorgen Juul Rasmussen, the General Secretary of Dansk El-Forbund, Denmark’s Electricians’ Union; and Mats Svensson, Advisor to the President of IF Metall in Sweden.

A presentation by ICEM’s Information, Campaigns, Pulp & Paper Officer, Dick Blin, on the trade union situation in the US attracted much attention, specifically by participants who compared the many similarities to the current Turkish union model “imported” from America in the late 1940s following World War II.

The last presentation was made by Üzeyir Ataman, Director of Education and Collective Bargaining of Turkish union Lastik-İş, who covered the history and current situation of the union movement in his country.

Comrade Ataman’s presentation focused on Power and Weak Points, Challenges and Opportunities, and Concrete Organising Targets inside Turkey. Each of the near 60 participants took the floor and put forward his opinions on these issues in Turkey.

“Our seminars in Izmit and Izmir have clearly shown that there is a major need in Turkey to reinforce capacity of trade union leaders on organising and social dialogue,” said the ICEM’s Özkan, who runs the project. “Turkey has big potential in terms of trade union growth, and our objective is to mobilise this growth. So far, we are gaining on that objective.”

The FNV project will encompass several more issue-focused seminars through 2010. The next one will be a special women’s seminar, scheduled for 15-16 December in İstanbul. In 2010, there will be seminars in the cities of Adana and Bursa, as well as in the region of Tracia.