The Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) and Public Workers' Union (Kamu-Sen) went on a one-day strike yesterday as they disagreed with the rise the government suggested: 3% percent raise for the first half of the year and a 4% for the second half. The group gathered at Beyazıt Square for a demonstration. Slogans like "We'll not surrender to misery", "We have the right to collective bargaining and strike is our weapon" were shouted during the protest which was supported by various non-governmental organizations and political parties.
The main demands of KESK regarding the collective bargaining agreement are:
* A collective agreement that provides legal assurances for the right to strike
* A decent wage
* Employment with social security
* Reflection of all bonuses on pensions
* Ensuring the wages not affected by increases in tax brackets.
* Implementation of positive discrimination for women in public sector.
* Ending the repression against trade unions
"Is it possible to negotiate without striking?"
"The government's proposal of 3% rise is inhuman; moreover it also ignores the confederations' suggestions on economic, social, personal, professional and democratic issues" said the Head of KESK, Lami Özgen.
"It was so obvious from the very beginning that a collective agreement could not be placed without a strike. Is it possible to negotiate without striking? An agreement, which the government has the final saying, cannot be considered an agreement.
"Salaries are already in the poverty and hunger line"
"My salary is already between poverty and hunger thresholds. It's a challenge to survive in Istanbul. How do they expect an improvement in my life with a 70 TL raise? There are always more price increase in electricity and natural gas" said a woman teacher.
"I am not on strike only for a decent raise; I am also concerned that the new education system 4+4+4 will not provide a secure future to my children" said an archive keeper woman.
Kamu-Sen at Taksim
Public Workers' Union (Kamu-Sen) and Eğitim Sen connected to Conferedation of Public Servants Trade Union (Memur Sen) were on strike at Taksim.
"There should be at least 25% raise" told Head of Eğitim-İş No.2 Branch Müslüm Baysal. "We'll fight until we get what we deserve" told İstanbul Provincial Chairman of Eğitim Sen, Hanefi Bostan
State Board Of Arbitration will make the final decision. The Board consists of 11 members set by the Council of Ministers and headed by Comptroller General Recai Akyel. (NV)