The 4th BWI World Congress, which was held in Durban, South Africa in December 2017, passed a resolution titled “Root Causes of Migration should be eliminated”. The resolution was submitted by the BWI Turkish affiliate TARIM ORMAN-IS (Civil Servants Union of Agriculture, Forestry, Husbandry and Environment Sectors) to point out the importance and necessity of understanding major reasons of migration.
The union wanted to emphasise that the reasons of migration whether it is seeking decent work or fleeing political repression and civil wars are a product of globalization and neo-liberal policies. Noting this, the union stressed the need for unity and solidarity to address the root causes of migration.
The resolution specifically addresses migration from Syria to its neighbouring countries and Europe; however, it should be noted that Turkey is currently hosting the largest number of Syrian migrants and refugees at 3.5 million.The Syrian migrants and refugees currently residing in Turkey has been facing so many difficulties and challenges in trying to stay alive despite very poor living conditions. The difficult predicaments they face has forced many of them to extremely poor working conditions mainly in forestry, agriculture and construction sectors.
In order to protect the rights of migrants and refugees working in Turkey and to provide them with decent working conditions, the BWI affiliates have been carrying out various activities and campaigns. Recently, YOL-IS (Turkish Road Construction and Building Workers Union) has been involved in a project titled “Promoting Decent Work Opportunities for Syrian Refugees and Host Communities in Turkey” with other workers’ and employers’ unions under the coordination of ILO Turkey Office. This project focusses on the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at promoting decent employment for the Syrian refugees and host communities by enhancing local capacity and delivering initial crisis impact assessments.
TARIM ORMAN-IS has also been pursuing local campaigns in the forest sector by monitoring the working conditions and informing public servants about the rights of Syrian workers and the methods on how to tackle and avoid possible conflicts between Turkish and Syrian workers in order to enhance conditions for a peaceful working atmosphere.
Additionally, AGAC-IS (Turkish Wood and Paper Workers’ Union) has been following the working conditions of Syrian workers in companies. As a result, the union cooperated with a Turkish employer in 2016 to include Syrian workers under Collective Bargaining Agreement, where the Syrian workers enjoyed the same working conditions and wages that of Turkish workers. (25 January 2018): See hereunder for the English version of :