LABOR > Airline staff start indefinite strike


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Hundreds of flights at Atatürk Airport were canceled as a result of a labor action against a legislation that bans strikes in the aviation industry.

Hundreds of flights at Atatürk Airport were canceled as a result of a labor action against a legislation that bans strikes in the aviation industry.

Members of Turkey’s Civil Aviation Trade Union (Hava-İş) are planning to launch indefinite action against new legislation approved yesterday which would prohibit strikes on Turkish Airlines, according to labor leaders.

“We will continue with protests everyday between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. at [Istanbul’s] Atatürk Airport,” Hava-İş President Atilay Ayçin said yesterday, adding that the national carrier had terminated the contracts of 300 cabin personnel who participated in a slowdown strike on May 29.

Hundreds of domestic and international flights were canceled on May 29 and May 30 due to the slowdown strike, in which 350 personnel used their right to decline to work a flight by saying they were “not ready to fly.”

Turkish Airlines said the action was illegal.

“Our action is legal, but our colleagues were laid off in an illegal way. They were informed via text message. We will fight for their rights to the end,” Ayçin was quoted as saying by Doğan news agency, noting that they had filed criminal complaints against the carrier.

The laid-off personnel will also be informed in an official manner, said Turkish Airlines Press Secretary Ali Genç, according to daily Radikal. Text messages and emails are only cautionary notices and do not constitute formal terminations of labor contracts, he told the daily, adding that 154 flights were canceled on the first day of strike and 69 on the second day.

The slowdown strike caused $2 million in losses, a company press release said, adding that the company will sue trade union executives to retrieve economic damage. The statement also said that a total of 45 workers at Turkish Airlines Technic had been laid off.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ defended the legislation prohibiting the strike, which was part of a wider omnibus bill.

“There may be exemptions [to sectors that are permitted to strike] in all countries in strategic matters, institutions and works,” he said on the sidelines of Istanbul’s Somalia Conference.


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Notice on comments

Michael Cleverley

6/1/2012 6:14:22 PM

Turkish workers need their Trades Union leaders to unite, the present multiplicity of Union Organisations can only weaken struggles in the future. Workers need an independent political voice. Reliance on Parties which believe in capitalism will be disastrous as the world economic crisis hits the Turkish economy. The idea of a mass workers party will gain momentum in the immediate future.

mara mcglothin

6/1/2012 4:15:22 PM

Playing with fire. People on both sides will mess around and have a major air tragedy and then the finger pointing will begin. Get it together people. You can pass a law that the sun is not permitted to rise, but that won't stop it. People must be in charge of their destiny and they also hold our safety in their hands. Do NOT persist in this fight. Settle.

Rimon Tree

6/1/2012 10:53:07 AM

It's time to start sort of a "Turkish Spring"! The only way of not ending up in a complete dictatorship is to be defiant at any costs!

Stephen Brunette

6/1/2012 10:15:21 AM

Reminds me of labour rights under the Nazis during the 30's. So sad for this wonderful country and it's beautiful people under this pathetic goverment/dictatorship.
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