The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (IHKIB) are working together under a cooperation protocol to create decent work for Syrians and host communities in the apparel industry, and support an enabling environment for economic growth. The work under the protocol will be undertaken in Istanbul and Bursa.
The cooperation protocol has been signed by Numan Özcan, director of the ILO Office for Turkey, and Mustafa Gültepe, chairman of IHKIB.
Özcan stated that the protocol would particularly contribute to the creation of decent work for Syrians and host communities in the apparel industry as a leading industry of current and potential employment, and support an enabling environment for economic growth.
Reminding that the ILO Office for Turkey had undertaken activities since 2015 for the Syrian refugee crisis response as a top agenda item both for the country and the region, and fielded its work inclusively and strategically in the framework of the ILO Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Özcan said: “We endeavour to contribute to the efforts in providing access for refugees to means of subsistence, and to formal and decent work in the labour market. In this context, we believe that collaboration with IHKIB is highly important in the apparel industry where Syrians and host communities are, or have the potential of being, employed in large numbers. As a most important sectoral organisation with more than 7,000 members representing the Turkish apparel industry, IHKIB makes significant contributions to the sector and Turkish economy.”
Gültepe reminded that Turkey was the seventh largest in the world, and the third largest for the EU, supplier which achieved 75 of the total Turkish apparel exports of 17 billion dollars. “We guide the sector in corporate social responsibility projects as we do in all other areas. As known, we have 4 million Syrian guests in our country. IHKIB has never been indifferent to the problems of these people. We have endeavoured to integrate Syrian guests into our labour-intensive sector. We have implemented various programmes to make space for them in the world of work. Now we are together for the programme of ILO which aims to increase formal employment for Syrians in our country. The joint programme by IHKIB and ILO will be implemented in the provinces where Syrian refugees live in large numbers. Our focus in this collaboration programme will be on our member companies which employ and intend to employ Syrians. We will coordinate the operations of such companies such as production, social compliance, and human resources management. We will include Turkish workers as well as Syrian guests in our sectoral labour force to further strengthen the sector.”
Sadettin Akyil, general director of International Labour Force of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security emphasised that the cooperation between IHKIB and ILO was very important. Akyil said he believed the protocol would set an example for subsequent schemes of cooperation.
The protocol will be valid for two years.