FTA and several of its members along with The Fair Labor Association (FLA), 20 apparel and footwear brands sourcing from Turkey, and three other initiatives in the field, signed a letter to the office of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on April 27.
The letter thanked the Turkish government for its extension of work permits to Syrian nationals as of January 2016, and called for adjustments to the work permit programme to improve conditions for Syrians who are seeking work in Turkey.
The letter focuses on six specific areas of recommendations:
- Make work permits valid beyond the city of initial registration;
- Facilitate access to public and private banks to prevent off-the-books transactions;
- Ensure access to vocational and career development courses offered by the government;
- Waive the fee imposed on employers applying to legally employ refugees;
- Provide a vocational qualification evaluation for Syrian asylum seekers; and
- Exempt Syrian employees from fines imposed for being employed without a work permit.
Through these governmental actions, Syrians can secure legal work with the same protections as given to local workers.
Long-term strategy to foster increased protection of Syrians
Prior to this letter, FTA held a multi-stakeholder forum on protection of Syrian labour rights in Turkey with FTA members, Otto Group, El Corte Inglés, and ESPRIT, in March in Hamburg. Over 70 influential stakeholders, including companies sourcing from Turkey, UN agencies, NGOs, associations as well as academics participated in the event.
A summary of the main issues that were highlighted at the forum in Hamburg will be released shortly. It will also include a plan for the next steps towards ensuring increased protection of Syrian labour rights in Turkey.
Through this letter and other FTA initiatives, the association continues its efforts in supporting labour rights in Turkey and responding to the need of mobilising a collective voice on this matter.
Contact: Anisha Rajapakse, Senior Manager Stakeholder Engagement