ETF: Hava-Is members start strike at Turkish Airlines

ITF affiliate Turkish Civil Aviation Unions (Hava-İş) began an indefinite strike on 15 May against Turkish Airlines (THY) over the company’s alleged failure to accept any of its proposals regarding collective bargaining and its refusal to reinstate 305 sacked workers.

The strikers urged THY’s management to reach an agreement with the union but were prevented on the first day from protesting at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport because of the heavy police presence. On 16 May they gathered in front of the THY headquarters, and have said they will continue to protest there each day for the duration of the strike.

THY claimed that operations continued as planned, with aircraft leaving on time, but the union alleges that the company is resorting to tactics that may undermine flight safety and that it has documents to support this claim. Atilay Aycin, Hava-Is president, commented: “Turkish Airlines’ management tries to fly the aircrafts with too few personnel, below international minimum requirements, and part-time workers who have not completed their education. This puts passengers’ and workers’ safety at risk.”

He continued: “The company also threatens the workers by phone to put pressure on them. They’re calling workers who don’t come to work many times, and are even calling workers on their free days.”

He concluded: “This strike is both about the sacked workers and because the company didn’t accept any of our demands affecting all the workers – such as, that rest periods must comply with scientific criteria and that temporary contracts have to become permanent ones.” ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho added: “THY’s intransigence has led to this strike action, while Hava-Is did all it could to avoid it. We hope the company will now see sense and sit down with the union to negotiate an end to the dispute.”

The 305 workers were sacked when they protested against a proposed strike ban. The courts had already found in favour of 170 of them and Hava-İş, which represents 14,000 workers at Turkish Airlines, urged the company to allow the rest to return to work.

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