The Turkish Trade Union for General Service Workers (Genel-İş) took the streets of Istanbul on 23 August to protest against turning the severance pay into the "severance pay fund" as part of the 61st Government Program.
Genel-İş is affiliated with the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK). 250 members of the Genel-İş Istanbul Branch marched from the union's building to the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Unkapı (Istanbul). They were carrying a banner reading "Severance pay is our work, we will not have our work seized".
Reading out the press release on behalf of the union, Mehmet Karagöz said that the abolition of severance pay was done to remove the "job security" for workers.
"Severance pay is the worker's labour force. It equals a one-month salary for each year against fraying at work. It also obstructs employers from arbitrary lay-offs".
"The last social right shall be abolished"
Karagöz criticized the government and capital circles who say that severance pay "is a very big load" and that "working conditions have to be streched to reduce unemployment". According to Genel-İş, this means enslavement for the workers.
"Severance pay is not a load for employers in a country with low salaries and where 75 of the employees are working for the minimum wage. Working conditions were stretched after every economic crisis. Union rights were restricted. They want to remove the last social right", the union stated.
"Severance pay cannot be withdrawn in the next 10 years"
Karagöz quoted the government as saying that "most of the workers are not entitled to receive severance pay anyways" and that "there will be no economic loss". He pointed out the following issues in response:
* We also know that many workers cannot take severance pay. However, the solution for this problem includes the stabilization of job security. The solution also has to come with legal amendments that render the employers' methods to avoid severance pay invalid.
* A worker who is earning TL 1000 per month for instance will receive severance pay of TL 1000 when he is made redundant after one year. With the anticipated application, the worker with the same salary is going to pay TL 360 per year and will be able to get the money after he has paid his contribution for ten years without interruption.
* 46 percent of employment in Turkey is off the record and it is very hard to complete a working duration of ten years.
"The fund will be made a source for the economy"
It was put forward in the press statement that the government was using applications such as "housing allowance, saving incentive fund and unemployment insurance" for purposes other than intended. Karagöz said that the government openly announced to use the severance pay money as a source for budget economy.
The press release was followed by a ten-minute vigil.
Mobilizing the parliament that re-opens on 1 October is the first phase of the protest actions that were launched by Genel-İş all over Turkey at the same time.
Workers of Belediye-İş (Municipality workers) as part of the Turkish Confederation of Labour Unions (Türk-İş) supported the protest. (NV/VK)
Picture: Gülfem Karataş
Related bianet News
Minimum Wage below Poverty Line 28 June 2011The minimum wage will be increased by 29 Lira in July. According to ...
95 Percent of Turkish Population Plunged in Debt 17 May 2011A research by the Research and Development Centre of the Public Workers Unions ...
Massive Workers' Protest against AKP Government 17 May 2011"No vote for you" was the message of tens of thousands of workers ...
Most Read Today
HDP Leader Demirtaş: Peace Was One Move Ahead 27 July 2015
1050 Detentions in 4 Days in 34 Cities 28 July 2015
A Farewell to The Dead of Suruç Explosion 22 July 2015
The Police Attack People in Gazi Quarter, İstanbul 27 July 2015
Journalist Dismissed from Milliyet Daily Newspaper 23 July 2015