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Vocal protest builds pressure for reinstatement of sacked Turkish Airline workers
27 July 2012
Around 50 trade unionists from ITF and Unite and representatives of London’s Turkish and Kurdish community turned out in London today to urge visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ensure the reinstatement of 305 sacked Turkish Airline workers.
Against the backdrop of protestors bearing banners and 305 red and white balloons, senior officials from the ITF and Unite tried to hand in to the Turkish Embassy a ‘gold Olympic medal’ made by the workers’ trade union Hava-Is but were denied access.
Stephen Cotton, ITF Maritime Co-ordinator, who took part in the rally, said: “Our good-natured and vocal protest served to remind PM Erdogan that Turkey’s reputation internationally rests as much with the way its workers and their trade unions are treated as with the Olympic values of its athletes competing in the 2012 Games. It’s a shame we were not allowed to deliver the ‘gold medal’ but it didn’t prevent us from making our point strongly.
“These aviation workers were sacked by text, phone and email for protesting when their legal right to strike was removed. The government owns the majority share in Turkish airlines so should act now to reinstate the workers and to call a halt to attacks on workers’ and union rights.“
ITF General Secretary David Cockroft added: "At the same time, the situation in DHL Turkey looks worrying. Around 25 workers have been sacked from several warehouses in what appears to be anti-union action. This week the ITF and UNI have made a number of proposals to facilitate talks between DHL Turkey and Tumtis, the union representing the sacked workers. Tumtis has a strong track record of winning workers' rights in the global delivery sector, supported by the international trade union family. The ITF and Tumtis are working hard to avoid a de-escalation of this dispute. Solutions for workers need to be found ASAP, interference needs to end and all parties need to sit down and talk. We are hopeful that DHL will play their part in achieving this."
Notes to editors:
1. Photographs, interviews and video clips of the protest outside the Turkish Embassy can be viewed at the campaign website www.reinstate305org
2. The ITF is campaigning for the reinstatement of the 305 Turkish Airlines (THY) workers sacked on 30 May 2012 when they protested against the amendment to national legislation rushed through that month which meant that aviation workers could no longer take strike action in Turkey. This came on top of Turkey’s already highly repressive anti-union laws.
3. The campaign has mobilised international support for the workers and their trade union, Hava-Is. More information is available on the campaign website www.reinstate305.org
4. These sackings and those at DFL Turkey are just the latest in a spate of attacks against trade unions and their members in Turkey. The global union movement campaigns vigorously on each occurrence and is seeking the release of 71 labour activists and leaders who were arrested on 25 June 2012 across 20 cities, a number of whom remain in jail.
For more information contact Dee Sullivan, who is temporarily covering for ITF press officer, Sam Dawson.
Direct line: + 44 (0)20 7940 9260.
International Transport Workers' Federation - ITF:
ITF House, 49 - 60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DS
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7403 2733
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7375 7871
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