Korea Tourism Research Association

Current issue

International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research - Vol. 31 , No. 10

[ Research note ]
International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research - Vol. 31, No. 10, pp.99-105
ISSN: 1738-3005 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Oct 2017
Received 04 Sep 2017 Revised 14 Sep 2017 Accepted 18 Sep 2017
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21298/IJTHR.2017.

Social dialogue in the tourism industry
: An evaluation of Turkey by interpolation method
Demet Tüzünkan*
*Professor, Sol International Hotel & Food Service Department, Woosong College, Daejeon, 34606, Republic of Korea (demettuzunkan@gmail.com)


Social dialogue, an indicator of decent work, is the workers, the employers, and the state engaging in triple business associations and consensus attempts to determine economic and social policies (Görmüş, 2007). Therefore, social dialogue requires an effective organization of workers and employers. The tourism industry in Turkey is characterized by the fact that employment is quantitatively effective, but the unemployment rate is high. Also, the unregistered workforce is high in terms of labor quality; therefore, social protection is not effective, working hours are high, and wages are low so that the right to work is not fully realized under unionization and collective bargaining. It is assumed that social dialogue cannot be realized effectively because it is quite low. The purpose of this study is to examine the inadequate social dialogue even though there is an effective legal framework. In this study, social dialogue, which has been dealt with by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the context of decent work, was measured as proposed by the ILO. The statistical and legal aspects of social dialogue were examined using data from the Turkish tourism industry. The results support inefficient rates of social dialogue. However, a strong social dialogue may improve working conditions of employees and solve conflicts among the involved parties.

Keywords: ILO, Social dialogue, Decent work, Tourism, Labour

Ⅰ. Introduction

Decent Work is a concept, which has come up at 87 th International Labour Conference, indicates with all men and women working conditions in equality, safety, freedom and dignity. According to ILO, the goal is not just the creation of jobs, but the creation of jobs of acceptable quality (ILO, 1999).

Decent Work has ten substantive elements which are linked to the four strategic objectives. These objectives are; international labour standards and fundamental principles and rights at work, employment creation, social protection and social dialogue and tripartism. These elements represent the structural dimensions of the decent work measurement framework under both statistical and legal framework sub indicators. The statistical indicators are quantitative indicators derived from official national data sources. The legal framework indicators are qualitative in nature primarily based on legal texts and other related textual information (ILO, 2013).

One of the most important indicators of Decent Work is Social Dialogue. Social dialogue is a platform where government, workers 'and employers' representatives can meet on where they hold mutual negotiations in a triple structure and make joint decisions on their interests. The key points identified where tripartite dialog could occur are working conditions, application of social dialogue, increasing the minimum wage, support for application of collective bargaining and the change of the system of remuneration of employees performing the work in the public interest (Filadelfi, 2017). A successful and strong social dialogue infrastructure plays a role in the solution of important economic and social problems, in the provision of social and industrial peace environment and in the preservation of stability (ILO, 2012). All in all, unilateral arrangements cannot be considered forms of Social Dialogue because it can take many different forms, comprising namely collective bargaining but also other forms of negotiation, consultation and communication between the social partners and eventually also governments (Carls & Bridgford, 2012).

For instance, Hermans et al. (2016) emphasize that social dialogue can set common standards or wage-levels in a region or sector and this supports reducing the chance of a downward spiral on labour and environmental conditions. In another report, the researcher explains that social dialogue helps for a high-quality way towards labour market and social protection adjustment by taking into account macro – economic concerns (wage moderation, competitiveness) (Gazier, 2006).

Employees in the tourism industry tend to be less organized compared to other industries. Due to the size of businesses in the industry, the unionization rate is as low as 10% worldwide. In Turkey, the unionization rate in 2013 is 4,18% in the industry. The 4 unions that provide this rate are TOLEYIS, OLEYIS, TURKON-IS and DEV TURIZM-IS unions according to Ministry of Labor and Social Security datas. In terms of collective bargaining agreements, there are a total of 77 collective bargaining agreements covering the tourism industry by 2013 according to Ministry of Labor and Social Security datas. The number of workers benefiting from these contracts is 0.82% and this ratio is quite low.

Employees are often well organized in major hotels in metropolitan area whereas the worker organization in between employees in smaller cities seems to be weaker (Boz, 2006). One other reason for the weak organizaton structure in between the employees is that they are young and inexperienced workers. Besides, it is seen that the seasonal and atypical workers in the tourism industry are also away from the concept of unionization (ILO, 2012). In the ILO 2011 forum, it was observed that the challenging work environment in the tourism industry also enhances the value of social dialogue in the workplace and, where such processes are formalized, they create real opportunities for constructive collaboration within major companies in the hotel and tourism sector (ILO, 2011). Based on this theoretical structure of tourism industry employees, in this research, the practical situation was unveiled by statistical and legal indicators.

While statistical indicators provide information on the rates of unionization of workers and employers in an industry and also in a country, the legal framework includes ILO conventions on unionization and collective bargaining rights and tripartite advisory boards (ILO, 2012). When this indicator is examined in terms of Turkish tourism industry, a part of the statistics is reached from Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security statistical databases which were rated by enterpolation method. Enterpolation method was used in order to show the maximum and minimum points to make the alignments. ILO contracts, on the other hand, constituting the legal framework are evaluated and interpreted in terms of existing legislation.

The tourism industry is in effect a labour-intensive interface between workers and customers, so a quality-driven service based on good management-labour relations at the workplace is essential. Statistics about social dialogue in tourism industry is important because even though there is an effective and decent legal framework, statististics may show an unefficient social dialogue in the industry. The purpose of the study is putting the statistical proofs of inadequate social dialogue even though there is an effective legal framework. That was important because lack of social dialogue leads to conflict, misunderstanding and fragmented progress between employers, employees and governments (Bolwell & Weinz, 2008). Especially in human intensive industries such as tourism industry may solve working related conflicts (working hours, annual leaves, salaries, etc.) with an effective social dialogue.

Ⅱ. Methodology

According to ILO, Social Dialogue is measured by four statistical sub indicators. As indicated in Table 1, the unionization rate and the coverage rate of the collective labor agreement are obtained from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security sources according to their activity areas. The proportion of establishments affiliated with employers' unions is not at the level of activity in national resources. The number of days that are not tied to strikes and lockouts indicates that there was no strike between 2008 and 2013 regarding the activity of accommodation and catering services in the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

Table 1. 
Social Dialogue and Employee Representative Statistics Indicators Sub Indicators
Statistics indicator (ILO) Statistics indicator
(Ministry of Labor and Social Security)
(E) Rate of unionization
(E) Proportion of workplaces affiliated with employers' unions
(E) Coverage rate of collective bargaining agreement
(E) Number of unworked days due to strikes and lockouts
(1) The rate of unionization

(2) The coverage rate of collective bargaining agreement

Statistical indicators including points of accommodation and food and beverage activity and the whole of economic activities in Turkey are scored between 1 and 5 by interpolation method1). Interpolation is a method of estimating an unknown value. In this research, interpolation was used in order to rank the minimum and maximum rate of unionization and the coverage rate of collective bargaining agreement in Turkish tourism industry. Thus, the “worst” and the “best” sectors were picked up easily.

There is no data collected in the unionization rates and coverage rate of the collective labor agreement of the 18 sectors in total: electricity and gas, steam; water supply and sewerage; wholesale and retail trade, finance and insurance activities; scientific and technical activities; education; and culture, arts, entertainment, recreation and sport activities; The remaining 11 fields of activity were evaluated for unionization and 10 for coverage rate of collective labor agreements. The activity area with the highest rate was given 5 points, the activity area with the lowest rate was given 1 point, and the place of the accommodation and catering activity area was determined.

There are three ILO conventions referenced in the legal framework of Social Dialogue by the ILO. These are the contracts 87, 98 and 144. The current applications in the legislation in Turkey towards these contracts are discussed in the findings of the legal framework.

Ⅲ. Findings

The formula proposed by the ILO to be used for the unionization rate is obtained by dividing the number of member labor union members into the total number of workers registered in each activity area. Accordingly, the status of 11 areas of activity is shown in Table 2.

Table 2. 
Unionization rates by activity areas
Area of Activity Number of unionized workers Total number of workers Unionization rate
Hunting, Fishing, Agriculture and Forestry 34.457 123.171 27.97%
Mining And Stone Quarries 35.894 186.698 19.23%
Production 46.363 473.494 10.56%
Construction 33.757 1.438.464 2.35%
Transportation 38.228 671.179 6.40%
Accommodation and entertainment 27.849 630.768 4.42%
Communication 9.958 86.267 13.60%
Bank, Finance And Insurance 60.654 265.736 22.82%
Defense and Security 23.309 191.784 12.15%
Health and Social Services 7.154 281.196 2.54%
General Affairs 134.035 655.417 20.45%

As seen, the highest unionization rate is in the field of agriculture and hunting. TOLEYIS, OLEYIS, TURKON-IS and DEV TURIZM-IS are the unionization rate of accommodation and entertainment services activity in 2013 is 4,42% and the average unionization rate in Turkey is 12,50%. The score of 5 out of 5 on the rate of unionization of the activity field of accommodation and entertainment services is negative compared to other fields of activity. The scores obtained after statistical analysis are as follows.

According to Figure 1, it is observed in the statistics of Ministry of Labor and Social Security that accommodation and food-beverage activity area was 1.32 points in third place with 4.42% unionization rate and it is a very negative graphic.

Figure 1. 
Distribution of Activity Areas in Terms of Unionization Rate

The coverage rate of the collective bargaining agreement was evaluated on the basis of the 10 activity areas included in the 2012 and 2013 Ministry of Labor and Social Security data.

As shown in Table 3, the number of persons who are members of a trade union in the area of economic activity and who benefit from the collective labor agreement and the registered employment figures in each activity segment are compiled from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security data. Accordingly, it appears that the area of financial and insurance activity is the area where the maximum number of people benefits from the collective bargaining agreement. The activity area of accommodation and entertainment services was found to be low in other activity areas with a rate of 1.99% in terms of the number of registered workers covered by the collective bargaining agreement in 10 activity areas.

Table 3. 
Number and rates of employees benefiting from the collective bargaining agreement
Area of Activities Workers in the scope of
collective agreements
Total number of workers TIS coverage rate
Bank, Finance And Insurance 61.305 265.736 23.06%
Mining And Stone Quarries 32.669 186.698 17.04%
Defense and Security 21.111 191.784 11.00%
Communication 7.130 86.267 8.20%
Production 55.353 473.494 11.69%
Transportation 18.480 671.179 2.75%
Construction 30.942 1.438.464 2.15%
Health and Social Services 4.255 281.196 1.51%
Accomadation and Entertainment 12.554 630.768 1.99%
Hunting, Fishing, Agriculture and Forestry 421 123.171 0.34%
General Affairs 134.035 655.417 20.45%

As a result of the statistical analysis, the score of activity and accommodation services is 1.13 in the context of the beneficiaries of the collective bargaining agreement and the statistical findings are shown below.

As can be seen in Figure 2, the activity area of accommodation and entertainment services is in the second last place with 1.13 points.

Figure 2. 
Distribution of activity areas in terms of collective bargaining coverage

Ⅳ. Legal framework

There are three ILO conventions of 87, 98 and 144 forming the legal framework for the Social Dialogue.

Turkey ratified Convention No. 87 of 1948, one of the eight main ILO conventions, in 1992.2) The Convention consists of sections for the protection of freedom of association and the right to organize and includes provisions for the protection of the right of all employees and employers to establish and join trade union organizations without discrimination.

Article 5 of the Convention implies that employees and employers, without any discrimination, establish and become members of the organizations they desire. In accordance with this article, Article 51 of the Constitution guarantees the right to form and join trade unions. In addition to the Constitution, the Law on Trade Unions and Collective Labor Agreements numbered 6,356 published in the Official Gazette on 7 November 2012 is one of Turkey's major social dialogue reforms. Previously, there were two separate laws for trade unions and collective labor agreements, 2821 and 2822, but they were now collected under a single law (Dereli, 2013). Articles and union freedom and are in line with the Social Dialogue legally, which is a sign of Decent Work.

One of the eight basic ILO conventions, number 98 of 1949, was also ratified by Turkey in 19513). Article 1 of the Convention protects the workers against being removed from work and being victimized because of their participation in trade union activities. Article 25 of Law number 6,356 on this subject underscores that there should be no discriminatory behavior in the working life between the workers who are members of the trade union and the non-member workers within the scope of the guarantee of union freedom. Similarly, Article 18 of Labor Law number 4857 refers to the existence of unfair termination in the case of termination of employment contracts of workers who are engaged in trade union activities outside working hours or with the permission of the employer. These items are in line with Article 1 of Contract number 98.

The final convention proposed by the ILO for the measurement of the Social Dialogue is the Convention number 144 of 1,976. This contract governs the work of the state, the workers and the employers in solidarity. It is also underlined that the labor and employer representatives must be of equal number in the trio structure to be formed. Turkey ratified this convention in 19924).

In accordance with Article 114 of Law No. 4,857, there are three committees. Trade unions are participating in both the workers 'and employers' sides at the triple committee meetings which are being held by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. In Turkey, however, there is no bilateral social dialogue platform at the national level, but there are bilateral social dialogues in the industrial sectors such as metal, textiles, construction and cement at the sectoral level where the unionization is high. Triple social dialogue is not at the desired level in tourism industry (Kayhan, 2007).

V. Conclusion

Statistics obtained from Ministry of Labor and Social Security data were scored by interpolation between 1-5 and it was determined by these scales whether the accommodation and catering activity area is within the other activity areas in Turkey and whether the employees are in compliance with the “Decent Work” criteria. The analysis was also examined and evaluated within the legal framework. Regulations in labor law are interpreted separately in accordance with the ILO contracts that form the basis for the legal framework.

Regardless of the legislation, there is no obstacle for everyone to form a trade union and to become a member of the trade union without any discrimination, while there are various reasons for unionization in hospitals and food and beverage enterprises being below the average of 4.42% and 12.50%. Among these reasons; it is shown that the employees employed here are abstaining from the trade union activities because of the seasonal nature of the industry the fact that the employees are not aware of their rights because of the low level of education and the structures made up of small scale enterprises and their employees are frequently seen in the industry. Therefore, the unionization rate is low; problems of working hours, working conditions and other economic and social rights can not be solved. In this context, firstly the employment structure of the industry should be strengthened by supporting with legislation and incentive for participation in unionization.

It should be reminded to the employees that the membership of trade union increases job security by reducing the dismissals, membership procedures should be simplified and accelerated; governments should encourage and support employee side about being member to the trade unions. Thus, working conditions in tourism industry may improve and this effects to both national and global economy. Otherwise, employees will keep working with low wages, extra working hours and inadequate conditions.

1) Interpolation is a method of constructing new data points within the range of a discrete set of known data points.
2) Act date and number: 25 November 1992 / 3847.
3) Act date and number: 8 August 1951 / 5834.
4) Act date and number: 26 November 1992 / 3851.

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