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Unions say they will be in Taksim Square on May 1
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 11 Apr 2008 Fri 05:16 pm

The three largest labor unions declare their intention to celebrate May 1 at Istanbul’s Taksim Square, where scuffles erupted between workers and police last year.

I am sure you have read about:
The "Taksim Square Incidents" better known as the Taksim Square Massacre relates to the incidents on 1 May 1977, the international Labour Day on Taksim Square in Istanbul.

2.       teaschip
3870 posts
 11 Apr 2008 Fri 09:52 pm

Sorry Roswitha I can't open this link. What are the three labor unions and what is the purpose for the gathering? Are they picketing?

3.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 11 Apr 2008 Fri 10:13 pm

Here we go:
Turkey's three largest labor unions declared their intention to celebrate Labor Day on May 1 in Istanbul's central Taksim Square, but authorities are expected to ban any such event, as they have in previous years.

The Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (TÃœRK-İŞ General Secretary Mustafa Türkle said Tuesday that they will join the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DİSK) and the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), both of which had made similar announcements the previous day, in Taksim Square on May 1.

DİSK General Secretary Tayfun Görgün said they will be celebrating together in the name of social justice, independence, freedom, peace and democracy.

Görgün, speaking at a joint press conference with KESK General Secretary Abdurrahman Daşdemir, said they will protest the government's pension reforms and the privatization drive, which he described as the greatest threats to workers' welfare.

The government's pension reform aims to increase the age of retirement and balance the accounts of the social security system, which generates huge losses. The current pension law allows individuals to retire in their late 30s or early 40s and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program key to Turkey's financial stability is tied to passage of the reform. However, the reform is encountering serious opposition from unions.

In previous years, the governor's office refused to grant permission for unions to celebrate Labor Day in Taksim Square and efforts by union members to go to the square ended in clashes.

Celebrations in Taksim Square have a symbolic meaning because during a Labor Day celebration in the square in 1977, shots were fired into the crowd from the surrounding buildings. Five people were killed by gunfire, one was run over and killed by a police tank and 30 others were trampled under foot at the entrance of Kazancı Street, near the square.

When asked if they would apply to the governor's office for permission, Görgün said, “We live in a civilized country and May Day celebrations are held in the most magnificent squares all around the world. It will be the same in Turkey. Permission is not a procedure we are contemplating.”

TÃœRK-İŞ's Türkel said workers have been hoping for the last 30 years to celebrate the day in Taksim. “It [Taksim Square] is closed to May Day activities but not to concerts or other festivities. We can't accept that. We are not after revenge. We just want to utilize our democratic rights. We asked the prime minister, the president, the interior minister and all relevant authorities to intervene.”

When asked what they would do if permission is not granted, Türkel said, “we will be in Taksim Square and we hope the permission will be given.”

KESK's Daşdemir said they will also call for May 1 to be declared a public holiday. “We will be in Taksim Square on May 1. Turkey needs to overcome this phobia.”

4.       teaschip
3870 posts
 12 Apr 2008 Sat 03:36 am

This is quite interesting actually. So their retirement is in their 30's and 40's, wow that seems more than generous. I wonder how many years they have to work in the union to be fully invested. And I wonder do they receive credit hours based on a dollar amount annually. Curious how their compensation works for retirement. Do you happen to know? Also what are the skilled trades considered in the union?

So many questions, I'm intrigued...

5.       KeithL
1455 posts
 12 Apr 2008 Sat 07:41 am

Last year Taksim was closed from almost 3 km from every direction. I happened to have a meeting in Sultan Ahmet that day and had to travel through Taksim to get there from besiktas. There were know buses, taksi or metro running in the area so I had to walk. When I got to taksim, the tear gas was still very strong. I got almost through but still had to visit my friend at a Taksim hotel just to catch my breath.

Yes, Turkish pension is after 20 years working. This is so jobs are available for younger people. Most people I know still get a second job after they "retire".

But yes, May 1 will always be a tense day in Turkey. At Sisli Camii alone, there were over 500 police. This is 20 minutes walk from Taksim. As I kept walking, more and more police and armored vehicles.

Last year was tense because of the elections but I think this year is capable of being even more tense due to political climate.

6.       karpusqueen
0 posts
 12 Apr 2008 Sat 09:42 am

Does the retirement rule apply to Turkish citizens who work for international companies with offices/plants in Turkey? I presume self employed people can continue working for as long as they wish.

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