The Perpetual Decline of the Traditional Movement in Turkey during the Neoliberal Globalization

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Doğan M. G.

Systemic Fragilities and Counter Strategies, İstanbul, Turkey, 15 - 17 April 2022, pp.50-51

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.50-51
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


The Perpetual Decline of the Traditional Union Movement in Turkey during the Neoliberal Globalization

Nineties witnessed a dramatic shift in the makeup of the Turkish industry and its orientation. The industrial infrastructure created by the public sector after the Great Depression and the import substituting manufacture of the sixties dominated by the private sector, restructured from the eighties onward according to the needs of export orientation, as a result many smaller sized firms rose throughout Anatolia to seek their fortune by finding a niche in the ever expanding global commodity chains of the era of neoliberal globalization. The union movement structured during the previous era failed to adapt itself to this changing landscape in Turkish industrial production. Both the public sector unions and those achieve to organize in the large private sector unions failed to organize the newly emerging centers of the Turkish industry, even refrain from attempting to do so. This study will analyze the social dynamics and political mechanism of this union inertia and argue that the traditional union that were built during the era of state led industrialization and then import substitution developed an ingrained inability to organize in the small sized industrial firms typical for the nodes of global commodity chains dispersed throughout Anatolia. Moreover, their earlier success in organizing also contributed to their torpor during the previous phase of industrial relations. Consequently, this study will also argue that this inertia paved the way for a new type of labor militancy that engulfed these new industrial centers although sporadically in the last five or six years.