“I Can Work!” Project which is conducted under the coordination of Turkey Spinal Cord Paralytics Association in collaboration with Sağlık-Sen İstanbul No. 1 Branch, ROSCOS (Romania Spinal Cord Paralytics Association) and Praxis Europe (England) between 15 October 2014 and 14 October 2015, aims to assess the current situation of disabled workers in national law and national policies.
“Asessment of Current Policies about the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities Seminar” is organized on 2-3 October 2015. Besides project partners, Prof. Dr. Ayşen Gürcan, Minister of Family and Social Policies; Prof. Dr. Mustafa Şentop, member of parliament for Istanbul; Bülent Özcan, Director of Project Implementation, Ministry of EU Affairs; Önal İnaltekin, Director of Family and Social Policies Ministry Istanbul Branch; Durali Baki, Director of Sağlık- Sen No. 1 Branch; Ramazan Baş, Director of Turkey Spinal Cord Paralytics Association; and representatives of public and civil society organizations participated in the seminar.
During opening remarks, Ramazan Baş, the General Director of Turkey Spinal Cord Paralytics Association, emphasized the importance of supporting projects for the employment of individuals with disabilities and mentioned that necessary regulations for wrong and inadequate practices accelerate the activities towards the elimination of problems.
Afterwards, Praxis Europe England representative Dr. Bob Bates and ROSCOS (Spinal Cord Paralytics Association) representative Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aurelian Anghelescu presented their reports and provided information on employment of individuals with disabilities in their countries.
Workshops in 4 different topics were held on the second day of the activity: Legal Regulations for the Promotion of the Employment of Individuals with Disabilities; Social Security Rights of the Disabled Individual; Physical Access Problem in the Employment of Disabled Individuals and Suggested Solutions; and Working Disabled Individuals’ Fight for Rights: Union activities. Prof. Dr. Ayşen Gürcan, Minister of Family and Social Policies, visited the workshops and mentioned that the ministry was following the seminar and the activities would be supported once the reports are shared with them.
After the workshops are completed, participants gathered together and presented their reports on the topics discussed.
TOFD member Figen Erbek presented reports related to Turkey on fact of disability and disability in work life, employment of disabled people under the scope of labor law, preparation of disabled people for employment and mediation, negative factors effecting the work lives of disabled people, difficulties a disabled person can face in a work day, constitutional view on the employment right of disabled people in Turkey, international human rights in terms of constitutional fundamental rights and freedoms, fundamental rights and freedoms associated with the disability rights, special fundamental rights and freedoms associated with disability rights, employment right in public, the obligation to employ disabled workers, penalty for not employing disabled workers, regulations regarding disability-based discrimination, problems of disabled workers at work, etc.
England Praxis Europe representative Dr. Bob Bates reported that the population of England was approximately 64.600.000 and currently eight million people or in other words, 14 percent of the population is considered disabled. He added that there are almost 2 million adults with learning difficulty or mental illness which is accepted as hidden illnesses; and about 10 million people who have vision and hearing disabilities, who are classified as having a physical or mental disability under the law of equity.
Dr. Bates mentioned that individuals with physical disability or mental disorder needed special training and employment of disabled individuals was obligatory and the quota was 3%.
Dr. Bates said: “In England, employers provide every opportunity at the workplace to ensure that disabled workers are successful at work. 9 out of 10 small- and middle-scale companies believe that disabled workers are as productive as workers without disabilities.”
ROSCOS (Spinal Cord Paralytics Association) representative Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aurelian Anghelescu reported that working conditions and current policies for the employment of individuals with disabilities in Romania, as well as penalties resulting from the failure in implementation are completely in accordance with the EU criteria.
Dr. Anghelescu said that according to 2010 National Authority (NADP) data, disabled citizens constituted approximately 3% of Romania population and with the active participation of disabled people in social life, the government had achieved a national political success in terms of equality of opportunity and treatment.
Prof. Dr. Murat Engin emphasized that education, accessibility and architectural barriers were the main problems and the employment challenge was derived from these after assessing the reports from Turkey and the other countries.
Hak-İş Antalya Branch Director Murat Pilevneli talked about the union activities about the disabled workers’ fight for their rights and said that the dues were extremely high and part of the 10% budget allocated for education should be used for the education of disabled workers.
The reports to be produced at the end of the project will be shared and evaluated with the relevant ministries and public organizations.