Turkish aviation workers set to go on strike

Turkish aviation workers set to go on strike

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish aviation workers set to go on strike

Turkish Airlines (THY) and Hava-İş union have still not reached any agreement on a series of issues. Hava-İş strike will begin in the early hours of tomorrow. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

Turkish Airlines (THY) and Hava-İş union have still not reached any agreement on a series of issues. Their talks appear to be deadlocked, indicating that a Hava-İş strike will begin in the early hours of tomorrow.

The Hava-İş union strike is due to begin at THY tomorrow as planned, the union representatives told Hürriyet Daily News today. The representatives added that they planned to go on strike just after the midnight and to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning. “We met the THY top executives yesterday but the talks were deadlocked again. There is no delay in our strike,” the Hava-İş union representatives said.

THY Chairman Hamdi Topçu said yesterday in a TV interview that the top executives of the company had been in talks with Hava-İş representatives for a long time. “The union wanted us to rehire 305 ex-employees, whose employment contracts were ended last year, without any conditions. The talks were then deadlocked. We want to sit at the table with our employees,” Topçu said.

Hava-İş announced on April 10 its intention to strike in May and later announced the strike date as May 15 in line with legal notice requirements. The union said that it had repeatedly met with company officials over the collective bargaining agreement and the reinstatement of 305 workers, who were dismissed when they protested against a proposed strike ban, but that THY had rejected the union’s proposals.

The union had warned leading tourism, economic and trade associations to alert them to the ramifications of strike action and to ask them to contribute to a solution to the latest dispute in April.

“There appear to be no flight cancelations or postponements from our customers yet. We expect some flight delays although the THY officials assure that there would be no delays. We hope the disagreements between THY and Hava-İş will be resolved soon,” said the founder of one of Turkey’s biggest tour operators.

“[As of now] There seem to be no cancelations of tourists’ reservations but such a labor strike in Turkey’s national and biggest carrier will cause reservation cancelations when it is started. It is not good for Turkey to experience such a problem at the beginning of the tourism season,” Timur Bayındır, President of the Turkish Touristic Hotels and Investors Association (TUROB), told Hürriyet Daily News. He added that he hoped THY and the union would resolve their disagreement soon.

The Hava-İş demands focus mainly on flight safety. “Employees do not want to work and fly when they are tired and they want to work properly. Our already-earned rights need to be maintained. Workers do not want to be fired when they are ill. And we insist that the unfairly fired 305 workers get their jobs back,” the union representatives said.

THY had announced last June that it would not rehire the 305 workers who were laid off after participating in labor action to protest against a piece of draft legislation banning strikes and lockouts in the aviation industry. Hava-İş members conducted a slowdown strike on May 29, 2012. Despite the objections, the draft law came into effect on June 3. The courts had decided in favor of more than 150 of the sacked workers and Hava-İş, which represents around 14,000 workers at THY, according to the union.

The Turkish Cabin Crew Members Association (TASSA) announced today that it would not attend the walkout. “We want to keep our faith that the two sides will reach an agreement until the last minute. We hope the problems will be resolved without any walkout,” the TASSA representatives said in a press statement.

The walkout affected 223 flights and 100,000 passengers, and cost THY about $2 million last year, the airline had previously announced.

THY orders 95 Boeing planes

Turkish Airlines (THY) said on May 14 that it had placed a 95-plane order from U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing amid the continuing tough negotiations with the union.
THY has committed to buying 70 narrow-body planes worth $6.9 billion at list prices from Boeing by 2021.