ILO promotes Social Solidarity Economy and Green Jobs in Türkiye

News | 03 April 2024
Istanbul (ILO News) – The Officials of ILO Office for Türkiye, embarked on a series of pivotal engagements with waste pickers through several meetings, technical advisory support, and a training aiming to promote formality, safety, and inclusivity within the green economy sector.

A visit was started by a courtesy visit to Mr. Ali Çeltek, Secretary General of the United Metal Workers’ Union, who graciously offered their meeting hall for the training. Meanwhile, the discussions with the General President of the Union focused on upcoming engagements, fostering cooperation between the stakeholders. Additionally, discussions with Ms. Nuran Gülenç from the Equality Department centered on women's empowerment, child labour, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), and refugee inclusion, highlighting the ILO's commitment to social and solidarity economy principles.

A meeting with the members of The Association of Recycling Workers who are also founding members of KATIK Cooperative was conducted with the participation of Ms. Zelal Yalçın from Istanbul Planning Agency. The meeting addressed the Cooperative’s establishment process, highlighting ongoing efforts to formalize waste picking activities, transition from informality to formality within the green economy and complimentary support interventions based on the feasibility report and business plan prepared by Mr. Serkan Öngel from Gaziantep University.

The ILO Office for Türkiye has been providing technical and financial support to enable transition to formality of the informal waste pickers in Istanbul, focusing on the Ataşehir, Ümraniye, Kadıköy, and Beykoz districts. The efforts are initially aiming to support the waste pickers willing to establish a cooperative to enhance their working conditions and formalize the waste picking. The ILO aims to build resilience and strengthen social cohesion among the refugee and host communities through the promotion of decent work and sustainable livelihood opportunities and by investing in a skilled and competent labour supply, stimulating job creation and business development, job retention, strengthening labour market governance institutions and enforcement. Through ILO’s technical and financial support, KATIK Cooperative will provide formal job opportunities for 10 people in the first place, in total 30 members, from host community and Syrians under Temporary Protection in İstanbul.

Through an interactive training session, the participants were briefed on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) terminology and sector-specific examples, emphasizing techniques to prevent fundamental abnormalities and diseases, crucial for waste pickers’ safety along with the providing information on personal protective equipment (PPE) by Ms. Nefise Burcu Ünal, OSH consultant.

In line with this year's theme “World Day for Safety and Health at Work” which will focus on exploring the impacts of climate change on occupational safety and health, the trainings that are carried out are focused on occupational safety and health, especially in the changing climate and the new economic ecosystem it creates. The trainings aimed to increase awareness of occupational safety and health legal framework, ILO’s standards and rights as fundamental labour and human rights and also to support social dialogue on occupational safety and health and to create a positive occupational safety and health culture.

Considering that cooperatives are pathways to transition informal economy workers, including waste pickers, to the formal economy by strengthening their collective voice and representation, securing jobs and incomes, and facilitating access to basic services and social protection, this OSH training provided an opportunity to leverage their knowledge in rights and obligations, including obligations within the tripartite structure while promoting decent work opportunities by guaranteeing the implementation of human rights to access to occupational safety and health in the world of work.

In conclusion, the engagements underscored the importance of transitioning from informality to formality within the green economy, promoting occupational safety and health, and fostering cooperation among stakeholders for a just transition.

The Association of Recycling Workers

Founded in 2022 in Istanbul with 87 founding members, has been active since 2010. Approximately 70% of its members are in the Ataşehir and Ümraniye districts of Istanbul.

The visits, supports, and the trainings are carried out through the gift of the United States Government and cooperation by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration under Supporting Resilience and Social Cohesion with Decent Livelihood Opportunities Project.