04 February 2011, Friday

Police attacked against protestor laborers

Police used pepper gas and water cannons against thousands of workers in Turkish capital Ankara Thursday who wanted to march to parliament building to protest a draft law narrowing down labor rights.

Workers from several provinces gathered in Kurtuluş Park Thursday morning under the leadership of Progressive Trade Union Confederation (DİSK), Public Sector Employees Confederation (KESK), Turkish Architects and Engineers Chamber (TMMOB) and Turkish Union of Physicians (TTB). Police formed barricades halting the way of the crowd towards central Kızılay square. Many police officers were brought from nearby provinces as additional forces, while police helicopters also flew over the group during the whole day. Many political parties and organizations supported the protest as well, along side parliament members of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

The representatives of labor unions and parliament members tried to negotiate with the police to allow the march towards the parliament where the draft law was being negotiated. The parties could not reach an agreement. Demonstrators attempted to exceed police barrier and threw stones and eggs to police. Police used pepper gas and water cannons, along side plastic bullets in some areas. Demonstrators for long hours did not leave the area. The conflict between protestors and police went on during day. Many reporters, workers and CHP deputies affected from tear gas. Two people hospitalized. On Wednesday the Interior Minister Beşir Atalay and Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yüksel had declared the protests as illegal, while Atalay called workers' demand to march to parliament as unlawful.   What does draft law bring? The draft law includes many amendments over several issues from labor rights, to tax amnesty. One of the main arguments of trade unions against the draft was that it puts many different issues in one bag, although the issues were all critical to be debated separately. One of the controversial articles of the draft is about distance working and working from home.  According to the news site BİAnet, the draft identifies and regulates those flexible type of working methods, which has been in practical life in Turkey for a long time. However the draft is not enough to bring those types of working under formal economy, the same news site reported. Another critical amendment is about the trial periods for workers. The draft increases the current two month long period to four months for each employee who for the first time in his life starts working in that company. This means regardless of employee's experience in working life if he/she changes his/her company he/she would be subject to four months long trial period. The trial period can be extended to hour months if it is accepted in collective bargaining process, which is up to the strength of workers. The amendments also regulates flexible working and it prevents employees to have their over work payments.

Labor World