"Trade Unionism in the Islamic World" International Symposium started pioneering Memur-Sen and SESRIC in Istanbul. President of Egitim-Bir-Sen and Memur-Sen Ali Yalçın who made the opening speech considered the 15 July the bloody coup attempt as "the lowest bloody coup attempt of history".
Yalçın who condemned terrorist coalition in his speech, said Terrorist organizations are the most important problems of both the world and our country. We vehemently condemn all terrorist organizations, such as DEAŞ, Boko Haram, Al Qaida, FETÖ, PKK, YPG-YPJ that massacre innocent people, without any exceptions. All terrorist organizations serve the same purpose although their names may be different and they are the common enemy of humanity. In one region or our country, the PKK terrorist organization prevents the laborers from their right to work, drops bombs on ambulances and hospitals that provide healthcare services, sets schools on fire and bombs schools while there are students inside, receiving their report cards, and massacres the police and healthcare staff that they call with false notices. Then, some unions in our country send reports to international unions regarding these events, as if the state has done all of them, by hiding the massacres of PKK. We all have to be sensitive about the unions that transfer false and incorrect information to the international unions in order to exonerate the terrorist organization.
"Trade Unionism in the Islamic World" International Symposium started in Istanbul. On the first day of the three-day giant organization President Yalçın, Drector-General of SESRIC, Ambassador Musa Kulaklıkaya and Labour and Social Security Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu attended and made a presentation. 116 administrators of 80 confederations from 58 countries were attended to the symposium. After the first day opening speeches in three different languages in three different halls sessions were held.
Historic call from yalçın
President Ali Yalçın who draws attention to the war, hunger, poverty and great drama in many countries of the world in his speech stressed that Turkey's example to the world with compassion diplomacy. Yalçın who said "We must take responsibility for more justice income distribution was provided, more just, more humane, more peaceful and a world in peace", called to the representatives attended from 58 countries "We must create a mechanism under the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation which will consult the issues of labour and trade union movement and produce common solutions".
We have gathered in order to discuss the problems of the union movement with 116 union colleagues of 80 confederations from 58 countries in the different geographies of the world. On behalf of the Memur-Sen family, I would like to thank all our unions for accepting our invitation, in order to become partners in our labor struggle, seek solutions for our common problems collectively and discuss the opportunities of collaboration. I salute you on behalf of our 1 million members, as the confederation with the largest number of members in our country.
I salute you as a member of a country that has suppressed a military coup attempt with the struggle of its people three months ago. The Fethullah Terrorist Organization has made the darkest and most bloody military coup attempt in our history on July 15th. They have materially and morally exploited our nation through the education activities they used as a master key. Together with their collaborators abroad, they used the power they acquired as a weapon on our people. While they did not refrain from using the money they extorted from the nation against our country, they have transformed the terrorists in uniforms that they had brainwashed into machines that fired bullets and dropped bombs on our people. But, the only thing that the Fethullah terrorist organization could not imagine was that there was a public that filled the tanks, weapons and planes by their faith. We have 241 martyrs and over 2000 veterans in these events. May Allah rest the souls of our martyrs! May Allah not let us experience such an event once more!
Terror targets all of the world
At the same time, our country is also struggling with the attacks of the PKK terrorist organization. Terrorist organizations are the most important problems of both the world and our country. We vehemently condemn all terrorist organizations, such as DEAŞ, Boko Haram, Al Qaida, FETÖ, PKK, YPG-YPJ that massacre innocent people, without any exceptions. All terrorist organizations serve the same purpose although their names may be different and they are the common enemy of humanity. In one region or our country, the PKK terrorist organization prevents the laborers from their right to work, drops bombs on ambulances and hospitals that provide healthcare services, sets schools on fire and bombs schools while there are students inside, receiving their report cards, and massacres the police and healthcare staff that they call with false notices. Then, some unions in our country send reports to international unions regarding these events, as if the state has done all of them, by hiding the massacres of PKK. We all have to be sensitive about the unions that transfer false and incorrect information to the international unions in order to exonerate the terrorist organization.
Photograph of our daughter’s Umran says a lot to people who have conscience
Our world is suffering major crises during the recent years. Humanity is going through major tests due to the experienced problems. War, starvation, poverty and big dramas are experienced in many countries all over the world. While hundreds of thousands of people lose their lives in wars, the destructive impact of war spreads over all parts of life. It is as if the world is compelled to re-live the bitter experiences of the past. Refugee migrations that remind of the migration of tribes are occurring. While we host almost 3 million brothers and sisters who have migrated from Syria that is at our elbow, certain countries are putting up wire fences along their borders and are building the shame walls of humanity. While certain countries are hosting millions of refugees as their guests, Hungary exhibits disgraceful attitudes by holding a referendum on whether to accept 1,294 refugees or not. The photograph of dear Umran who has come out of the debris of bombs dropped on Aleppo says a lot tp those who have any conscience. But, the world that rises even for a single whale does unbelievable things in order not to admit Aylan babies whose bodies wash ashore.
We can not see cruelty and death normal
We do not want to be convicted to a world where the power balance is determined by those who observe people losing their lives in terrorist attacks less important than their money losing its value. We are being compelled to accept the atrocity and oppression suffered by women, children, the elderly and the youth, their slaughter as normal. If our human values have not died, if our hearts have not turned into stone, we cannot and do not observe oppressions and slaughters as normal. Company shares that lose value in the New York stock exchange make the agenda more than the falling of the dead bodies of Aylan babies, Muhammed Atta’s, Ali’s. The annual profit-loss statements of global companies draw more attention than reports on the violation of human rights, human dignity. The interest decision of the US Federal Reserve is cared about more than what happens to refugees on the journeys they set out in big seas. The people killed in many Muslim countries in the world are accepted as figures entered into statistics rather than a problem of humanity.
New partnerships those increases our solidarity are mandatory
While the world is suffering crises associated with such grave problems, the union movement is also going through a crisis. Today, we are going through a period when the union movement has been downgraded both qualitatively and quantitatively. Important decreases are observed in the unionized employees in the whole world over the last thirty years. The decrease in the numbers of union members is quite significant even in the European Union (EU) member states where the unionization ratios are relatively high. The only common point of the world’s union movement is losing members, losing its weight in politics and economy. Therefore, the union movement is faced with a problem for a long time. Structural changes weaken the negotiating power of the union movement before the employers. We have to generate a response to these negative developments experienced in the union movement. As unions, it is imperative for us to make new collaborations that increase international solidarity. I would like to note here that we have certain essential principles while building these collaborations. We observe union solidarity as an equal relationship within the scope of mutual solidarity and collaboration, rather than the oppression of the weak by the strong. As MEMUR-SEN, our main principle is to walk side by side instead of being at the front and share our experiences in the union relations. Within this scope, our main goal is to organize collective trainings and panels, discuss our common problems and generate common solutions.
We have to think global as such as local
While traditional unionism fails to find solutions for the problems we are experiencing today, it also remains inadequate in overcoming the union crisis. As unions lose their power, the struggle to deal with problems is also reduced. The union movement should develop strategies that are suitable to solve the problems generated by the new developments. The union movement is faced with significant threats. However, although the experienced transformation is a threat with respect to unions, it may also be transformed into an opportunity if it is managed well. Especially the global economic crises have increased the significance of the equality and justice principles which are the main purposes of unionism throughout the whole world. We should not overlook that the inadequacy of unions to generate responses to the conditions is equally influential as the changes in the structural conditions, in the crisis experienced by the union movement. The union movement has to think globally as well as locally before the common problems it is faced with. This requirement makes it indispensible to build a union understanding that does not only follow up on its own local agendas, but is able to foresee global change and generate alternative strategies at this scale.
We must take responsibility for a more just world
The basic struggle of our union is the establishment of a fair world order for everyone. We are demanding this not only for our country but the whole world and we are fighting for this. In an environment where the world has globalized and means of communication have increased, demanding the right to live humanely only for ourselves, would be a demand of “personal comfort”. A world where everyone, regardless of who he is, what he believes, how he looks and where he lives, is valuable as a human and is entitled to a humane life in working life should be the common goal for all of us. We should assume responsibility for a world where justice is ensured in the distribution of income, which is a more just, more humane, more restful and peaceful. As the confederations, we should unite our forces for a world with people looking to the future in confidence, rather than being concerned about tomorrow. As the labor organizations, we should all raise our voices, say our word collectively for a working life where we are not prohibited, restricted, exploited, but exercise our union rights and freedoms and receive the worth of our labor.
At the point of entitlement to a decent job and a wage that befits human dignity, we cannot confine the search for rights to an area that is limited to our country. If we keep the organized power of labor as limited to national platforms, we cannot resist against global capital. We cannot confine our efforts for the conditions that are necessary for human rights and freedoms, democracy, fair distribution of income, humane living, only within the borders of our own country. In a period when the world union movement and the international unions are suffering a confidence crisis, we have to be a new voice for Union struggle and the labor’s pursuit for its rights. We should increase our international solidarity rather than struggling alone, in a period when capital and employers merge.
We must create a mechanism under the organisation of Islamic cooperation which will produce common solutions
In the 38th Verse of the Şura Surah of the Holy Koran, it is decreed “They do their work by consulting with each other”. Within this framework, we have gathered here today in order to consult, discuss and then develop our relations further. In addition, we should establish a mechanism that will consult on the problems of labor and union movement, and generate collective solutions under the roof of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. This is an important and urgent need. We observe that the international union structures do not approach our problems with the adequate sensitivity. We are witnessing double standards being applied on Islamic countries in many incidents.
How much are we represented in the union structures that are in a sense the United Nations of the international union movement? How sensitively are our problems approached, just as in the United Nations? The international union organizations that make important statements even about the LGBTI problem; have they published any studies or any condemnation messages about Islamophobia, differentiation, defaming caricatures as aimed for our Holy Prophet? We have to question these. We are 56 member countries in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Do we have a mechanism, a platform here, where the problems of labor are consulted on? Why do we not do this? I would like to share a tangible recommendation with you. If you also approve, let us recommend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to establish a labor mechanism formed by the unions of Islamic countries. Let us reinforce our solidarity, brotherhood and unity here. Just as Mevlana has said, “yesterday is left behind my dear, today is the time to say something new”. Today is the time to do new things and build new struggle mechanisms.
We have to ressurrect the brotherhood climate again
While women and children die, millions of people are forced to migrate, refugees are left to die in open seas, brothers massacre each other in many Islamic countries does it befit anyone who has any conscience to remain silent by looking at the races, colors, geographies and sects of the innocent and the oppressed? Our languages, geographies, ethnic origins, sects may be different. However, we are the members of a community, who are brothers under the divine message of the Holy Koran, under the peace fag of the Holy Prophet. We have to pull away from the disputes, problems, artificial and man-made differences among ourselves, and revive the brotherhood climate. Let us not forget that Allah, who is “Mâlik-i Yevmiddîn” the owner of the judgment day, will question us. We will be called to account for not only what we have done, but also what we have not done. If we remain silent to the oppressions applied on Muslims in the world, whether being Sunni or Shiite, black or white, Turk or Arab, from Africa or Asia, this will not change the reality that we will all be called to account. We are going through such a period that we have to unite, be brothers and be concerned with our problems. Our Holy Prophet commands “The believers are like a body in loving each other, taking pity in each other and protecting each other. When an organ of the body is sick, the other organs also suffer sleeplessness and inflammatory disease for the same reason." We have to love each other; we should observe the problems of our brothers as our own problems. As Memur-Sen, we see Muslims as the different organs of the same body, as different bricks in a complete building. And, we expect our brothers to look at us like this. If we remain silent as the labor organizations of the Islamic world, we will be exploited further and will continue to fail to receive the worth of our labor. Why are the countries with the lowest per capita income Muslim countries? Why are the poorest working conditions applied in the Muslim countries? Why are most of the countries in the lowest wage list Muslim countries? Why are many Muslim countries included in the listing of countries where the ILO labor standards are violated the most? All of these are not things that we cannot change. We do not deserve the problems experienced by the laborers while Islamic countries have abundant underground and aboveground wealth. We should reject the role of “poor guards of wealthy treasures” that is cast on the laborers of many Muslim countries. We are only demanding a world that is fair, not only for us but for everyone, and a working life to maintain a life that befits human dignity.
With these feelings and thoughts, I would like to thank all my union colleagues who have come from abroad and carried all colors of the World over to our country. Deep from my heart, I would like to thank all participants who have honored us by participating.
Kulaklıkaya: We will continue to take responsibility
Director-General of SESRIC Ambassador Musa Kulaklıkaya by drawing attention that symposium was performed in a targeted period, continued as follows: "At such a time, the importance of trade unions and employee confederations came to a different location than before. The lack of basic rights such as collective bargaining, strike employees have in countries where trade unions are inadequate in quantitative and qualitative terms, has revealed that how trade unions are important in terms of the social dimension of the global crisis”.
Kulaklıkaya who also indicated that they would continue to take responsibility for the realization of trade unionism target in the Muslim world as SESRIC said, " The contribution, comments and suggestions to be made during this symposium in terms of reduction of unemployment and increase of the standard in business life in OIC countries, I am sure will provide extremely contribution".
Kulaklıkaya continued his words as follows: "I would like to thank for their extraordinary effort and dedication that they have shown to Memur-Sen. Also thank you exhibitor participants for sparing your valuable time for coming to this symposium, I wish you success. "
Labour and Social Security Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, President Ali Yalçın, Director-General of SESRIC Ambassador Musa Kulaklıkaya visited Anadolu Agency July 15 photo exhibition.
In three different language, three session and workshop was held
After the opening speeches on the first day, in three different languages, in different halls, sessions was held. Following the presentations of the guests Confederations, "Ways of Auction of the Cooperation between Trade Unions of the Islamic World: Prospects and Challenges" entitled workshop was held.
Enterprise Cooperation Protocol was signed between Memur-Sen and SESRIC. President of Egitim-Bir-Sen and Memur-Sen Ali Yalçın and Director-General of SESRIC Ambassador Musa Kulaklıkaya was signed the protocol.