The Reconstruction of Labour Unions in Turkey during the Akp Rule: The Case of Metal Industry

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Isil ERDINC, Paris Dauphine University, France
Ferit ONGEL, Gaziantep University, Turkey
Turkey has been experiencing a serious problem of not being able to create employment since the economic and political crises of 1999. The most important component of the system, which is sought to be restructured within the axis of global value chains, is the fact that labor is taken under control with insecure-flexible working hours and the pressure of unemployment under the title of global competition. An important part of this process is de-unionization. Policies which are mentioned within the scope of enabling "Turkish firms" to gain competitive advantage in value chains which are shaped by leader firms and have an international dimension also aim at deepening this exploitation. In this work, we will focus on the neoliberal policies of the AKP government and their impact on the fabrication processes of legal regulations on trade union and social rights. We will explain how the trade union activists adopt different strategies on regional and national levels as well as on workplace level. The metal sector as one of the leading industries of Turkish economy and the most dynamic and powerful sector in terms of class struggle and international and European solidarity networks will be taken as a case study. Our research is based on the fieldwork that we have conducted from 2011 to 2016 during which we have made participatory observations and 111 semi-structured interviews with the trade union activists affiliated to three labour union confederations: leftwing union confederation (DİSK), the Islamic labor union confederation (Hak-İş) and and nationalist labor union confederation (Türk-İş). The quantitative data of the case study is gathered throughout a research conducted in metal industry. The distinctive strategy of the Birleşik Metal İş in metal industry is based on the results of a survey based on 1000 workers selected on the basis of random sampling.