BSCI Supports Better Working Conditions for Migrant Workers in Turkey

12-03-2015

On 15 January 2015 BSCI facilitated the third in a series of Round Table meetings in Istanbul (Turkey) to dialogue on working conditions for migrant workers, amongst other local labour issues. Uniting leading representatives from NGOs, government, academics, and labour union representatives, the meeting provided updates on national legislation for migrant workers and an overview of steps being taken to improve their situation.

Special attention was paid to the legal situation of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria into Turkey. In 2013 it was the third most important sourcing country for BSCI participants, accounting for 5.3% of all their sourcing activities. The influx of refugees from Syria, as well as Turkey's position at the gateway to Europe have led to growing concern about 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.

Another topic of serious concern to good labour relations is that of social dialogue between management and workers, which has been the subject of previous BSCI Round Table meetings. Participants discussed cooperation strategies and integration of labour unions within companies 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.

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