BSCI Holds Round Table to Tackle Plight of Migrant Workers in Turkey


On 15 January 2015 BSCI facilitated the third in a series of Round Table meetings at Kadir Has University, Istanbul. Turkey is third most important sourcing country for BSCI participants. During 2013, 5.3% of all sourcing activities of BSCI participants took place in this country. Refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, as well as Turkey’s position at the gateway to Europe have led to growing concern about the situation for working conditions. Currently, the UNHCR estimates that the number of refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey in 2015 is expected to rise to nearly 1.9 million, including 1.7 million Syrian refugees. Thus, this requires the effort of all stakeholders to collaborate for lasting change.

The Round Table therefore united leading representatives from NGOs, government, academics, and labour union representatives. Sessions during the Round Table mainly focused on providing updates on national legislation for migrant workers, and an overview of steps being taken to improve their situation. Important updates on the legal situation of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria was of particular interest. A presentation on key data related to Syrian refugees and their working conditions was followed by a lively debate. Another topic of serious concern to good labour relations is that of social dialogue between management and workers, and which has been the subject of previous BSCI Round Tables meetings. In this context, cooperation strategies and integration of labour unions within companies were discussed as well as outcomes of research into responsible sourcing and production in Turkey which explored problems and solutions for participants and producers. The final outcome is a local stakeholder position paper that draws consensus on the next steps to take in order to ameliorate working conditions and implementation of core labour standards in this sourcing country. 

Contact: Sabine Van Depoele, BSCI Stakeholder Relations Manager

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