The ITF has appealed to two football clubs sponsored by Turkish Airlines urging them to intervene in the dispute over the airline’s dismissal of 305 of its employees.
In letters to David Gill, chief executive of Manchester United Football Club, and Sandro Rosell i Feliu, president of FC Barcelona, ITF general secretary outlined the predicament of the Turkish Airlines workers, who are represented by the ITF-affiliated Hava-Is union. The airline is an official sponsor of both football clubs, which were due to meet on the evening of 8 August in a friendly match in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Highlighting Manchester United’s “global reputation and its mission to be socially responsible,” Cockroft told Gill “We welcome the club’s commitment to tackling environmental and social issues at regional, national and international level, and using the Manchester United brand to leverage support and create awareness of these issues. We are asking you to use that leverage now and to urge the Turkish Airlines management to reconsider its unnecessarily heavy handed action and to participate in good faith in a dialogue with the union with the intention of finding an equitable and positive outcome to the dispute.”
He also emphasised “FC Barcelona’s global reputation, the club’s values and historical association with the defence of democratic rights and freedom” and urged Rosell to use his influence to persuade the airline’s management to negotiate with the union.
Turkish Airlines sacked 305 of its employees for participating in a protest against an amendment to Turkish labour law, which removes the workers’ right to strike.
The ITF has launched a concerted campaign to defend the workers, which includes the production of a video, Brutally Yours (see below). Unions and other activists from around the world are also organising protest actions. Among them were 100 women who took their protest to Turkish Airlines’ main ticket office in Taksim, Istanbul, on 4 August.