Turk unions repeat mass protests against labor law

Hurriyet English
06 Nisan 2008 - 11:19Son Güncelleme : 06 Nisan 2008 - 18:04

Turkey's leading unions relaunched a mass demonstration against the IMF-sought social security reform bill in Istanbul on Sunday after the demonstrations on April 1. Unions are demanding the bill be withdrawn, despite the amendments. (UPDATED)

Members of the, ''Health and Safe Future for Everyone Platform,'' consisting of  76 non-governmental organizations including the Revolutionary Labour Unions Confederation (DISK), Confederation of Public Employees Labour Unions (KESK), Union of the Chambers of Turkish Engineers & Architects (TMMOB), Turkish Medical Association, and the Turkish Dentists Association, organized demonstrations held in Kadikoy, a distinct of Istanbul, which started at 2.00 p.m. (GMT 1100)

Riot police intervened when, in an isolated incident, a group of young protestors clashed with non-uniformed police. The group causing the disturbance were removed from the area and the meeting continued peacefully.

On April 1 the unions launched two-hour warning strikes as a protest against the bill for the second time in a month.

Turkey's social security deficit exceeded 25 billion Turkish lira ($20 billion) or 4 percent of GDP in 2007, and officials warned it would reach nearly 30 billion Turkish lira this year if the reform is not passed. The long-delayed social security reform aims to cut this huge deficit and one of the conditions for the release of a 1.3 billion dollar IMF loan tranche.

The government and unions reached consensus on some portions of the bill after the debate was opened in Parliament on March 27, including a figure of 7,200 working days needed for blue-collar workers to reach retirement. But no agreement was reached on a one key part of the package, more closely followed by financial markets and the International Monetary Fund, to raise the retirement age to 65.

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