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|TRADE UNIONS IN TURKEY HAVE FOUGHT MANY BATTLES against recalcitrant and even strike-breaking employers in recent years, many of them subsidiaries of multi-national heavyweights such as UPS and DHL. Now they also have to deal with anti-union laws and dubious court decisions. However help is at hand from the international trade union movement. When 305 Hava-Is members at Turkish Airlines were sacked for protesting about new laws depriving them of the right to strike their cause was taken up by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). General Secretary David Cockcroft urged the chairman of the company to take personal responsibility for changing its behaviour which ‘is utterly at odds with its ambitions to be a European and global leader’. Meanwhile in Norway Elisabeth Goffeng the president of the Cabin Crew Union demanded that the state-owned Norges Bank sell its||
||investment in the airline. Workers at courier giant DHL in Turkey have also been dismissed for holding a recruitment drive for the TÜMTIS union and were joined by the airline workers as they held a press conference that received messages of support from around the World. Turkish courts often indulge in the harassment of trade unionists. In June, 71 officials and members of several different unions were detained by police after raids on offices across the country. This followed the conviction of 25 Egitim Sen members last year under anti-terrorist laws despite such a lack of evidence that two of the judges were replaced when it appeared that they would acquit the defendants. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber condemned the harassment and called on Prime Minister Erdogan to unconditionally release the detainees.|
AS PART OF THE EU YOUTH STRATEGY which began in 2010 a report must be produced before the end of three years to set priorities for the next three-year cycle. It might be thought that with an average of over 30% of 15 to 24 year-olds unemployed across the EU (see issue 58), and over 50% in Greece and Spain, good news would be hard to find in its pages but it sees some grounds for optimism. The report finds that most EU Member States have done a good job in implementing the strategy which aims to create more and better opportunities for young people and to promote active citizenship, social inclusion and solidarity. Initiatives to increase entrepreneurship, to reduce early school leaving and to encourage mobility have all made progress, it says. EU-wide programmes such as the ‘We mean business’ campaign to boost traineeships, the Leonardo scheme which offers placements abroad to employed youngsters and Erasmus, which applies to higher education students, will, between them, support 280,000 people in 2012-13. In addition, in 2011, the ‘Youth in Action’ programme facilitated around 185,000 exchanges, visits and volunteering opportunities in its effort to promote citizenshipIn future the European Commission hopes to secure the agreement of national governments to youth guarantees to ensure that all school leavers are in employment, education or training within four months and to get them to use more of the European Social Fund for job creation. To this end Commission action teams have managed the re-allocation of €7.3 billion by seven Member States to help 460,000 young people. The EURES Internet job portal which matches job-seekers with vacancies across borders will be developed to increase labour mobility and, in 2014, the new ‘Erasmus for All’ programme will start. This brings together seven separate existing funds and has a target of enabling 5 million people to study, train or volunteer abroad before 2020. Other measures that the EU intends to take are included in the Employment Package (see issue 59). Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou whose brief includes youth commented ‘I am deeply concerned by the effects of the crisis on young people. ... I am committed to strengthening our policies and programmes in education, training and youth in order to increase their job prospects and opportunities in life’.