Turkish labor unions demand improved rights
More than 100 workers from 10 Turkish labor unions staged a protest in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Friday, demanding improved workers' rights and greater participation in government decision-making process, Xinhua reported.
"We want Ankara to know that Turks are strong. They cannot do anything without consulting us," Atilay Aycin, the secretary- general of the civil aviation union, said at the gathering.
Turk-IS is the largest labor union confederation in the country and serves as an umbrella platform for unions from various sectors.
The unions also demanded that the legal process required to join an union be made easier.
Attaining union membership under current Turkish law is a difficult and bureaucratic process. The right to strike is also heavily regulated and has been a long-standing demand of Turkish labor unions.
"We will not bow to pressure on unions and will present a united front," said Aycin.
The privatization program is our biggest enemy and we want job safety for workers, he said, adding "we want to have the right to strike and will struggle to achieve this right."
Unemployment remains a serious issue in Turkey despite a record growth rate of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
Labor unions said the benefits of this growth are not trickling down to workers.
Aycin alleged that some of their colleagues were detained by the police and some were pressured by their employers to prevent them from attending the gathering.