Since late December 2023, UNI affiliate Journalists’ Union of Türkiye (TGS) has concluded first collective bargaining agreements with four companies, the news agency ANKA, the news website Diken, the online outlet with Artı Gerçek and Artı TV as well as the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA). TGS has been working closely with UNI closely on organising since 2021. This collaboration has now paid off.
TGS signed the first-ever agreement with ANKA – one of the companies it had targeted as part of a 2022 UNI organising project – winning a base pay of 18,000 TL (€550), a pay rise of 30 per cent for the first six months, one salary bonus per year, two days off per week (instead of one in the press labour law), monthly meal cards and financial support for cultural activities, glasses and contact lenses.
The union also concluded a first contract with Diken, a major step towards the sustainability of collective bargaining agreements in the sector. The agreement includes an increased base pay of 20,000 TL (€600), a pay rise of 10% for the first six months, monthly meal cards and a commute allowance, as well as financial support for glasses and contact lenses.
TGS signed another first contract with online news outlet Artı Gerçek and Artı TV. According to the contract, wages will increase between 25 per cent and 75 per cent in the first six months. It also included a net monthly meal allowance of 4,000 TL for those working outside Istanbul, a 2,000 TL meal allowance for those who work from home permanently and 2,000 TL for glasses/contact lenses. Moreover, female workers will receive a net support of 1,000 TL on International Women’s Day (8 March), and all workers the same amount on International Workers’ Day (1 May).
While the union could not come to an agreement with EPA in official negotiations, TGS applied to the Supreme Arbitration Board, awarding an annual pay raise of 5% in Euros, one salary bonus per year and 100 Euros monthly meal card.
TGS General Secretary Banu Tuna said: “We are happy to be able to create an improvement in the living standards of employees in Türkiye, where the government is trying to stifle independent media with all kinds of means, where the economic crisis has hit workers hard and the freedom of expression has narrowed.”
TGS’s victories show the material benefits unions can win for workers if they organise. The UNI Global Organising Fund has supported some of these activities. Training, campaign planning and monitoring support has been provided by UNI Europa under the European Power and Organising Centre (EPOC) programme. Through EPOC, UNI Europa works with affiliated trade unions like TGS to build strategies that combine worker engagement and strategic mapping to strengthen collective bargaining.
TGS General Secretary Banu Tuna said: “It would not have been easy to achieve this success without the support of UNI. I can say with all confidence that our collaboration has made a big difference.”
“These are impressive victories for journalists in Türkiye,” UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig said. “I am proud of the great collaboration with TGS, and that UNI Europa’s European Power and Organising Centre (EPOC) could contribute to improving their members’ working conditions. But the work does not stop here; I am confident we will see more agreements in the sector in Türkiye very soon.”
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