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Attack on the right to strike in Turkey
17 May 2012
The Turkish government has taken steps to toughen up the country’s already draconian anti-union laws, which will make it impossible for aviation unions to organise strikes.
Last week, Metin Külünk, a deputy of the governing political party Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP) tabled a motion in the Turkish parliament to amend the collective labour agreements law. This is set to introduce a fully fledged ban on the right to strike in the aviation industry.
In February, draft legislation introduced by the government included a clause that appeared deliberately to target Hava-Is – it gave aviation companies the right to force 40 per cent of their workforce to work during a strike. However, during parliamentary procedures, the primary committee, deleted the clause and sent the legislation back to the plenary.
According to Turkey’s only aviation union the ITF-affiliated Hava-Is, the “increasingly authoritarian” government has no intention of respecting international obligations when it comes to workers and union rights.
Atilay Ayçin, Hava-Is president, said, “Once again the government is attacking a group of workers who are taking a stand. Workers must have a right to withhold their labour. Otherwise, they can’t exercise their democratic rights. The aim is to transform aviation workers into serfs or slaves. The AKP government wants tyranny to rein our working lives. The government singles out Hava-Is because they couldn’t manage to transform it into a puppet organisation as they have done with many others.”
Last December, global union federation affiliates, including ITF unions, raised concerns about the new draft legislation with Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
On 23 May, Hava-Is is organising a demonstration against the planned strike ban in front of a Turkish Airlines building at Ataturk Airport, Yesilkoy.
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