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Thousands of public sector workers in Turkey strike

Striking workers in Bayazit Square, Istanbul
Rallies were held in several areas

Tens of thousands of public sector workers have walked off the job in Turkey to call for the right to strike.

Transport, hospitals, postal services and schools were disrupted. Some trains are reported to have stopped halfway through their journeys.

Turkey has nearly two million public sector workers. Though they can join unions, they are not allowed to strike.

The leader of the Hak-Is union, Salim Uslu, called on the government to change labour laws.

He said they should be brought into line with the recommendations of the International Labour Organization.

Mr Uslu described the one-day walk-out was as a warning.

The mass action shut down hospitals, prompting criticism and threats of disciplinary action from the health ministry.

Striking workers staged marches, accompanied by left-wing activitists, in some cities. There were reports of some violence in Ankara, where police used tear gas after demonstrators hit them with sticks.

Among other union demands are the right to collective bargaining and wage rises.

Unions decided in favour of the strike, despite Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warning against it.



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