Turkey Country Study 2015
Responsible for a large proportion of Turkey’s total export, the garment industry is the country’s second largest industry, with the European Union as the biggest purchaser. Although the industry is familiar with international workplace standards and the audits of international buyers, improvements are still needed in many aspects of its labour conditions. Small and medium-sized factories with a wide sub-contractor chain dominate the industry, with the working conditions deteriorating throughout the supply chain.
The industry is well aware of the issue of unregistered employment. It is estimated that almost 60% of the total workforce in the industry is unregistered. This results in workers who are unable to assert their rights to social security, job security, freedom of association and right
to collective bargaining. In addition to the unregistered employment, the current regulations in Turkey do not make unionisation any easier. Although Turkey did ratify the three related ILO Conventions, the country has been criticized for years by ILO and the European Union for not complying with the international standards on freedom of association and right to collective bargaining. The new Act on Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements was adopted and took effect in 2012, but the law continues to be problematic when it comes to compliance with ILO standards.
The wage level in the industry is not enough to provide workers with a living wage. Although Turkey has the highest minimum wage among FWF priority countries, the legal minimum wage, which can be considered as the industry’s average wage, is approximately 25% of the
living wage estimates of local stakeholders.
FWF will continue to provide updated information on Turkey on the Turkey Country Page and will update this country study on a periodic basis in the future.