ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
After a one-day slowdown and several flight cancellations last week, a law making it illegal for the aviation industry to either strike or hold lock-outs gets presidential approval. As part of the new law, unlicensed taxi drives and passengers who ride these taxis will also be strapped with hefty cash penalties
Union workers protest the omnibus bill outside of Istanbul Atatürk Airport last week. The new law makes it illegal for the aviation sector to strike or hold a lock-out.
A new regulation banning airlines from carrying out and partaking in strikes and lock-outs was announced in the Official Gazette yesterday after President Abdullah Gül’s approval. Similarly, another regulation increasing the cash fine for unlicensed taxi drivers, taxi stands and other establishments with which they are affiliated also went into effect as part of the omnibus bill.
An amendment to the 29th clause off the strike and lock-out legislation has come into effect, now including “aviation services.” As a result, it will be illegal for airlines to carry out strikes and lock-outs.
The new omnibus bill comes into effect despite a one-day slowdown last week to protest the new regulation, by members of Turkey’s Civil Aviation Trade Union (Hava-İş) and staff of Turkish Airlines. The airline was forced to cancel 150 flights on the first day of the strikes, while a day later an additional 68 flights had to be cancelled because of the back-log from the day before. Following the strike, some 200 Turkish Airlines staff were laid off for having participated in the strike. The slowdown strike resulted in $2 million in losses, a Turkish Airlines press release said, adding that the company would sue trade union executives to retrieve the economic damage. Trade union preparing for legal action
Meanwhile, Hava-İş President Atilay Ayçin said yesterday that they were going to appeal the law by taking it to the Turkish Constitutional Court. He added that he was not surprised that the law had passed, but that he was going to continue with his efforts to repeal the law.
The new law also increases the cash penalties for unlicensed taxi drivers and the taxi stands or companies for which they work. The law foresees a three-fold increase in the cash penalty. If the offense is repeated within the same year, the penalty can increase by as much as five times, according to the new regulations. For the first time ever, customers who use unlicensed taxis will also be strapped with a cash fine, which will be the equivalent of one-third of the above mentioned fine.