ETF: Hava-Is close to strike at Turkish Airlines


ITF affiliate Turkish Civil Aviation Unions (Hava-İş) has announced strike action in May at every company owned by Turkish Airlines (THY), following the alleged refusal by the company to enter dialogue about the reinstatement of 305 workers sacked when they protested against a proposed strike ban.

Hava-İş announced its intentions on 10 April. It is legally required to give THY six days’ notice and has until 20 May to do this. It is holding talks with the company’s board of directors on 30 April.

The courts had already found in favour of 170 of the sacked workers and Hava-İş, which represents 14,000 workers at Turkish Airlines, urged the company to allow the rest to return to work. At the same time, the company offered a three per cent pay rise for the remaining six months of the collective bargaining agreement and apparently refused to discuss the union’s proposals.

Hava-İş wrote to the heads of several of Turkey’s prominent business organisations to explain that unless it could agree articles of the collective bargaining agreement with THY, a strike would be unavoidable. It also warned of the implications of strike action, stressed that the union was still seeking dialogue to resolve the conflict and asked whether the businesses might contribute to a solution. The Association of Travel Agencies in Turkey (TURSAB) replied that it could assume duties during the resolution process.

Hava-Is president Atilay Aycin commented: “We have had enough. These workers have been out of work for nine months and this injustice cannot be allowed to continue. Turkish Airlines needs to take account of the court decisions and public opinion and reinstate the workers now. It will have only itself to blame if a strike goes ahead.”

ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho added: “Hava-Is gave time to Turkish Airlines ahead of starting the actual strike and is still keen to maintain the negotiations. If THY management doesn’t change its uncompromising course, then Hava-Is will be left with no choice but to take industrial action and the ITF will fully support it if it does.”

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