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Trade Union Revitalisation

Trends and Prospects in 34 Countries

Craig Phelan

Although trade unionism has been declining in virtually every part of the world, its continued demise is not a foregone conclusion. As it has throughout its history, trade unionism has demonstrated a capacity to adapt, to make its voice heard, to reassert its power. The scale and scope of experimentation taking place in the labour movement today is testimony not just to the depth of the crisis but also to the possibility of resurgence in the years ahead. This book is an essential resource for anyone wishing to know about contemporary labour issues. It offers a comprehensive introduction to the state of trade unionism in the world today, and the often innovative strategies and tactics trade unionists are using to revive their organisations in each of the major nations of the world. Leading labour scholars discuss, in clear prose, the health of the trade union movement, the present political and economic climate for trade union advancement, the dominant revitalisation strategies, and future prospects in each nation. Each chapter includes an up-to-date guide to further reading.

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Trade Unionism in Turkey 461

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GAMZE YÜCESAN-ÖZDEMIR and ALI MURAT ÖZDEMIR Trade Unionism in Turkey 1. Introduction This chapter examines trade unionism in a peripheral country, Turkey in the 2000s. The trade unions of peripheral countries tend to be ignored in the scholarly literature. Yet, given that neither globalisation nor the internal dynamics of a country lead to an automatic geograph- ical or historical convergence of institutional architecture throughout the world, the trade union experiences of both developing and de- veloped countries need to be explored. The activities of trade unions in peripheral countries have increasingly become subjected to similar structural forces and constraints stemming from trade liberalisation, privatisation and a host of new measures designed to increase inter- national competitiveness. Peripheral countries do not merely share similar experiences; the tendential changes in the regulation of industrial relations make it more likely that the ‘ecological dominance of capitalism’ (Jessop 2002) will shape the main trends in industrial relations despite the historical differences of the each country in question. In this chapter we will analyse the fragmented and divided features of trade unionism in Turkey and the economic, political and ideological terrain in which trade unions’ activities find their meaning. We will also examine the hopes and despairs of Turkish unions as they grope for new strategies and policies, and will finally try to shed light on future prospects by asking ‘what is to be done?’ Gamze Yücesan-Özdemir and Ali Murat Özdemir 462 Table 1. Confederations and affiliated unions in Turkey,...

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