Declaration of The 1st Labour Congress

Declaration of The 1st Labour Congress

The 1st Labour Congress was organized by the Aydinlik Newspaper in Istanbul on 23 November 2013.

The 1st Labour Congress, organized by the Aydinlik Newspaper, in Istanbul on 23 November 2013, was held at the meeting hall of the Petroleum Workers’ Trade Union.

As the government expresses openly in the National Employment Strategy and the 2014 government program, a huge and systematic attack against the basic rights of the working class is on the agenda. 

The system of severance payments, a right introduced in 1936 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and developed further in the following years, is threatened to be limited or abolished totally. 

Subcontracted labour is getting more and more common due to government’s policies. The government is keeping these workers from using their legal rights and trying to limit them even more. 

Temporary employment has been introduced into the labour legislation in 2003. Now the government tries to enslave workers even more by giving private employment agencies the right to hire and fire employees. 

Public employees are under heavy pressure by government policies as well. In the collective labour agreement for 2014, no inflation difference is foreseen. This will lead to serious impoverishment of the more than 2.5 million public employees. 

The numbers of the unemployed are rising every day. Families sacrificing everything to send their children to universities, see these children unemployed and in depression when finishing their studies. 

Privatization condemns our workers to poverty and weakens our country. 

The deepening economic crisis and the rising inflation puts in danger the future of the whole country and the whole working class, including workers, public employees, retired persons. 

Without an alternative, people stick to credit cards and consumer credits, but the debts collected here are getting to be unpayable. 

Protests of workers that are waiting for their payment are getting more and more common. 

The privatization of health care leads to more expenses for the working population. The negative consequences of the general health security system are becoming visible day by day.

A lot of persons are now dependent on alms by certain institutions and associations. 

We have to say “STOP” to this development. And the Turkish working class will say “STOP” to all this. 

The attacks against our trade unions as the most organized and popular organizations are continuing. The strikes of Hava-İş (civil aviation trade union) at Turkish Airlines, the resistance of Gıda-İş (beverages and food producing sectors trade union) at tee producing Çaykur, the resistance of Türkiye Maden-İş (mine workers trade union) in Yatağan, the resistance of the population in Çatalağzı in Zonguldak province, all these resistances show that the working class has not given up.

The working class constitutes two third of our population. 

The working class has been the backbone and the main body of the June Uprising. 

Of those 1 million 89 thousand people who marched to the Mausoleum of Atatürk on 29th of October, of all those who marched in all the cities of our country, the vast majority are workers, public employees, unemployed and retired persons. 

The historical heritage of our working class, the decisiveness of the millions who descended to the streets to defend our secular republic will win over these attacks. 

Our working class is decided to defy the government’s policies, to defeat the imperialist attempt to divide Turkey ethnically and to resist the attacks on the secular republic. The working class is decided to use the weapon of general strike if necessary. 

This 1st Labour Congress states the attacks, underlines the working classes, our trade union’s and our nation’s decisiveness to resist. We declare that we deeply believe in the power of our people, led by our working class, to found the free, independent and democratic future of Turkey.