ITUC and ETUC Criticise European Employers over ILO Regional Meeting in Turkey

The ITUC and ETUC have strongly criticised European employer federations for blocking the circulation of an open letter from the two trade union organisations to government and employer delegates attending the 10th ILO Regional Meeting in Istanbul this week.

The letter explains the reasons why trade union organisations from across the region have refused to attend the meeting, including the aggressive suppression of workers’ rights and other fundamental freedoms by the government of Turkey’s President Erdogan.

“The situation in Turkey makes it impossible for some union representatives to speak freely, and attending this meeting would have given legitimacy to a government that has sacked more than 100,000 workers without due cause, suppressed fundamental democratic rights including freedom of speech, and imprisoned some 150 journalists. Many Turkish companies have been closed down by the government, and yet employer delegates in Istanbul have chosen to try to stop our letter being circulated rather than to stand up for fundamental freedoms,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

“While the Turkish government imprisons journalists and attacks workers, trade unions and even companies, European employers are stopping trade unions explaining why they refuse to attend the ILO meeting in Turkey,” said ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini. “Trade unions will not be silenced about violations of basic rights, and will continue to demand justice in Turkey. That is why we cannot be present at the ILO meeting in Turkey, and employers should be with us in standing up for European values.”

To read the ITUC/ETUC Open Letter