By Halima Athumani
Turkey’s second largest trade union Hizmet-is is strengthening its support to and collaboration with African trade unions, officials told Anadolu Agency.
Hizmet-is Trade Union that operates in the public service and local communities in Turkey has signed about 43 bilateral cooperation agreements with counterpart Unions worldwide.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency in Kampala Ali Riza Yilmaz, Hizmet-is Secretary General said: “Trade unions around the world evaluate issues differently but the trade union movement in Africa is developing fast.”
In the meetings with African trade unions, Yilmaz revealed: “We discuss ways of how to support, strengthen their trade unions and empower them to protect the rights and welfare of workers in order to increase production.”
“These can be achieved if the three partners including government, employers and workers manage to work and cooperate in harmony,” he said.
Hizmet-is Trade Union is also inviting colleagues from different unions for training in Turkey. “We want them to get accustomed to Turkish culture and get acquainted with the working life issues in terms of social security and how to handle workers’ termination.”
Yilmaz was accompanied by Vacit Sir, the head of Hizmet-is-Konya subcommittee Union and Mustafa Koroglu, the head of Hizmet-is-Corum subcommittee Union. The union is affiliated to Public Service International and Europe Public Service Union.
With the motto “Human beings First, Labour First” the Hizmet-is officials stressed that their operations in terms of protecting and safeguarding the rights of human beings are done without discrimination.
“We don’t look at the ideological background but protect their rights despite their color, religion and beliefs which is a perspective spearheaded by our government.”
With a Refugee Population of over 4 million mainly from Syria, Yilmaz noted that many have lost their lives and livelihoods as they escape the war. For those who make it to Turkey, the trade union through its sub committees with support from government has been able to provide education, food and non-food stuffs.
In the same breath, the trade union is also advocating for some amendments in the Turkish labor code in the parliament.
“Consultations and negotiations are ongoing to see our labor code amended to include new clauses so that the refugees can be involved in the labor market,” Yilmaz added.