TURK-IS President Ergun Atalay Meets with ITUC General Secretary

At a meeting in Brussels today, Ergun Atalay, President of ITUC Turkish affiliate TURK-IS expressed deep concern over global trade wars and their impact on jobs, and stressed the importance of sustainable economies for labour rights and trade unions being able to operate freely in accordance with international standards on freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Atalay said "Trade wars and games on exchange rates shouldn’t turn into an opportunity for greedy companies and politicians. For Turkish workers, the actions of the Trump administration can destroy jobs, and the effects of that could spread beyond Turkey."

Following the meeting, ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said, “The ITUC reiterated its commitment to fully support our Turkish affiliates in their defence of fundamental rights of workers and our opposition to any economic action that destroys jobs or reduces workers’ rights. Our support is based on the fundamental trade union rights and freedoms guaranteed in international law, which apply to Turkey as to every other country. We also discussed the economic situation in the country, with the ITUC stressing that trade wars are bad for workers and bad for the global economy. Trade wars are not the answer when jobs and secure futures are being destroyed. We need global dialogue that guarantees an international trading system that is built on the foundations of ensuring labour and other human rights, including decent work with environmental protections.

Given the destructive history of the IMF in Turkey, it should not turn to the IMF to shore up its economy in the short term. The track record of the IMF and the austerity policies it still espouses is too often one of laying waste to the productive potential of national economies and this would be a further disaster for working families in Turkey.”