Update Information about the Jo-In Project in Turkey
JO-IN Steering Committee plans for the final stages of the Project
Meeting in Istanbul on 14 and 16 May, and concluding in Amsterdam on June 7, the JO-IN Steering Committee concluded an extended series of meetings with executive decisions for the final stages of the JO-IN Project, which is scheduled to end at the end of 2007. Key decisions taken were as follows:
1. The general approach was approved for the JO-IN 'remediations', (i.e. the process of addressing the necessary improvement areas identified in the JO-IN Assessments) and the specific implementation proposals for the suppliers participating in the Project. Noteworthy in this was the ordering of 'remediations' foci into 3 categories, so that both immediate and underlying issues would be remedied:
- correcting the 'basics', such as non-compliance with legal minima;
- addressing the Freedom of Association gap, which produces a negative workplace 'climate' of suspicion and fear
- attending to underlying causes of low wages and excessive overtime, e.g. weak production and planning systems
2. The Freedom of Association (FoA) issue is to receive special attention, in the final 6 months of the Project, since the current FoA gap in Turkey makes sustainable in-house solutions difficult to reach, and creates over-dependence on external audits.
3. The JO-IN focus on Wages and Hours-of-work is to continue, and the JO-IN Wage Ladder (JO-IN's practical answer to the need to move beyond an abstract Living Wage debate) further researched and developed
4. A Review of JO-IN Assessments will be conducted, to evaluate the learnings from the approach that JO-IN adopted in this important phase of the Project work, conducted in December 2006 and January 2007.
5. Continuity of ongoing JO-IN remediation processes, and of the Turkish Local Working Group's important multi-stakeholder functions, after December 2007, will be catered for. Since the Project will end even while some JO-IN initiated processes remain incomplete, continuity arrangements for 2008 will be needed.
6. Research sub-projects and Future Meetings: JO-IN's 2 research sub-projects (into Sub-contracting in the Turkish Garment Industry, and into Complaints Systems available to workers in Turkey) will report in coming months The research outcomes will be channeled towards the remaining meetings envisaged: the JO-IN end-conference is currently scheduled for early December 2007, and a Turkish Local Working Group meeting will discuss the continuity arrangements within Turkey for 2008.
JO-IN's International Advisory Panel (IAP) meets with the JO-IN Steering Committee
On May 14, the IAP held its first joint meeting with the JO-IN Steering Committee, and lent its broad combined experience to a valuable discussion on key questions relevant not only to JO-IN's Turkey Project, but to the global reality of workers' rights beyond Turkey. Key agenda items covered were:
How do we increase the depth / sustainability of labour rights remediation?
How do we address the 'climate' issue: i.e. the lack of FoA as an underlying cause of many 'compliance' problems?
What developments are there on the issue of
- Audit Quality
- Capacity to perform good Audits
What has changed in the world of Codes since 2003, when JO-IN started?
What's the mileage on the JO-IN Code?
4. Lessons from JO-IN
What is emerging from the JO-IN Project that can be used 'globally'?
Should there be more MSI collaboration? If so, what form should it take?
How can the positive JO-IN 'local working group' development be taken further?
Many of these issues re-emerged the following day in the JO-IN International Consultation (see next item)
JO-IN's International Consultation/Conference in Istanbul, May 15 2007
This event, bringing together for the first time since October 2005 JO-IN's wide range of local and international stakeholders, took place in the historic old library building at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, at the invitation of the University's Economics Department.
The central emphasis of the day, was the need for all stakeholders in the global supply chains to take full and appropriate responsibility for the safeguarding of worker rights.
A summary report on the day's proceedings: JO-IN International Consultation
JO-IN issues Advisory on Freedom of Association
Much time was spent by the participants, at all the JO-IN meetings in May, on the core issue of Freedom of Association.
The JO-IN Steering committee, reflecting at its May 16 meeting on both formal and informal discussions of this topic on preceding days, took the unusual step of circulating an Advisory on this issue to stakeholders, to address certain misunderstandings which appeared widespread amongst local stakeholders..
In essence, the Advisory noted that ILO standards on FoA would not be met by employers taking the initiative to set up committees to represent workers. Nor would the ILO FoA standard be met by employers instructing their employees to join a trade union.
The full text of the Advisory: JO-IN Clarifying Statement on FoA