Improving social dialogue in working life

Improving social dialogue in working life


Turkey has a long tradition of social dialogue and trade unions have been playing an important role in industrial relations, particularly since the 1950s. Despite the existence of social dialogue mechanisms at national level, these do not function efficiently. The main reasons for this stems from particular legal arrangements with regards to trade union rights, a lack of a culture of cooperation between the social partners as well as certain limitations on their part. In addition, the high rate of unregistered employment prevents many workers from accessing trade unions and social dialogue mechanisms.

The aims of the project and its core activities

The overall objective of this project is to promote social dialogue at all levels in Turkey, through enhancing the capacity of the social partners and relevant public institutions and by raising awareness at all levels on its importance. Led by the Directorate-General of Labour of the Ministry of Labour, Social Services and Family, the project is aimed at organised labour, employees and employers who are not unionised as well as the official bodies that deal with trade unions.

In order to boost the institutional capacity for social dialogue at all levels, participants will receive training in international labour standards as well as best practices in tripartite/bipartite social dialogue mechanisms, work councils and worker representation. Furthermore, the directorate-general’s IT systems will be improved for better data collection and analysis.

Another activity will engage working groups, which will include representatives from a number of large enterprises and small businesses, to identify best practices in bipartite social dialogue mechanisms and to devise ways to transfer these to lower levels. In addition, studies will also be conducted on involving unorganised workers in these mechanisms.

At a practical level, bipartite committees will be established in specific sectors or enterprises to address specific topics, such as working conditions, occupational health and safety and flexitime. They will also look at designing and implementing joint management–unions plans, enhancing social dialogue, establishing pilot works councils and enabling employee participation and partnership at different levels.

An extensive publicity campaign is also planned to raise the public’s awareness of trade union rights. These activities will include a short film competition, national and local media advertisements and encouraging the use of social media by the social partners. Moreover, a competition will be held to identify the best small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of social dialogue mechanisms.

The project, which will be implemented through a direct contract with the International Labour Organisation, will include a grant scheme directed at the social partners to improve social dialogue mechanisms and enhance social dialogue at branch and company levels.


IPA I (2007–2013)


  • Budget: €3.5 million (EU contribution €3.15 million)
  • Province: Nationwide
  • Status: Ongoing (completion expected in 2016)