Strengthening innovation and change through social dialogue
Social dialogue in Turkey faced several challenges, mainly due to existing legal arrangements, coupled with a lack of a culture of and experience with cooperation between the government and social partners. As social dialogue was increasingly viewed by Turkey as an essential means to encourage good governance at the company and state levels and to promote innovation and boost economic and social progress, a project to nurture new social practices was needed, in particular at the company and branch levels, and to mainstream the results of these in the country’s social policy and legislation.
The project’s aims and core activities
The purpose of the project was to assist the Ministry of Labour, Social Services and Family and social partners in promoting social dialogue at all levels in order to accelerate the process of aligning Turkish law with EU norms. The end goal was to enable them to fulfil their future responsibilities within the framework of EU social policy.
The programme consisted of three main parts. The first involved boosting the abilities of the ministry and the social partners to engage in social dialogue. To this end, databases of key EU and Turkish regulations, court rulings, labour statistics, etc. were compiled to allow for easier access to information, while working groups were established to review specific issues that Turkey is obliged to implement in the EU accession process. Study visits to partner EU countries were essential in introducing participants to best practices elsewhere.
In addition, training was provided to ministry staff and social partner representatives – including leaders, experts, instructors, mediators, inspectors and the social partners at the regional level – in the rules and principles of social dialogu,e, as well as in communications and negotiation skills.
Moreover, a number of pilot projects were supported to enhance social dialogue at the branch and company levels and promote innovative experimental projects in the social realm, with the expectation that these projects would help disseminate the benefits of social dialogue across the country. The pilot projects were valuable in engaging the social partners in closer dialogue with the government as well as enhancing their capabilities.