|Written by Devrimci Isci *|
|Thursday, 07 June 2012 14:44|
On 30th of May, Turkish Government banned all strikes in Civil Aviation and the Turkish Airlines fired 305 workers protesting the law. Turkish civil aviation workers need urgent solidarity actions. Boycott Turkish Airlines until workers get their jobs back and this shameful law is cancelled forever.
Organize solidarity actions. Airport workers of the world, refuse offering service to Turkish Airlines flights. Refuse to fuel their planes, don’t carry their cargo. Agency workers, refuse to sell their tickets.
One of the fastest growing airline companies of the world, Turkish Airlines owe its success to extreme exploitation of its workers. While flight crew gain more than average wages in Turkey, they are forced to work sleepless for days with continuous 16 hour shifts; they are not permitted to get sick. Most of them stay awake with medicines under the threat of losing their jobs. They are even asked to submit death certificates to attend funerals of their family members. Airline and the government blame them with ingratitude saying that they have high wages. They hide the fact that the company is endangering flight safety assigning sick and sleepless crew to flights continuously. Technical staff faces the same threats, they have to work in extreme conditions and they are forced to permit safety breaches. Greediness of the bosses not only exhausts workers to death, but also endangers the lives of thousands of passengers.
18 months before, the Union was preparing for the collective agreement, and working conditions were the most important issue. But the management claimed that the Union did not have the authority for the collective agreement and filed the case to the labor court. Court ended with Union’s victory but delayed the agreement for more than a year. Several other legal attempts of the employer were also avoided. When the negotiations started, the employer refused to improve working conditions and offered far worse proposals and the Union left the negotiations. The next legal step was the mediation. Parties could not agree on a name, so the official authorities decided to assign a third person, who was selected by randomly drawing a name. But the employer’s representative was found to select the name. The mediator interviewed with both sides and prepared an official report declaring that the parties could not reach an agreement. According to the Law, Ministry of Labor had to submit the report to the Union and the Union could declare going on a strike 6 days after that. But they delayed without any reason. Meanwhile, the employer again filed a case to two different labor courts rejecting the mediator they have selected themselves. One of them naturally rejected the case, since choosing the mediator was just a formality which was conducted by the employer. But the other judge accepted the case and postponed the court hearing to 4 months later, which was ridiculous and obviously a result of bribing. This stopped the process. The trade union objected the decision and they succeeded again.
At that time, government was preparing a package of laws about car parking places and illegal taxi cabs. They added an Article in this package banning all strikes in Civil Aviation. On 23rd of May, the Union organized a demonstration against this attempt. Thousands of workers screamed for justice in front of the company headquarters. But the management and the government were deaf to justice. In the evening of 28th of May, when only some days were left to the legal strike declaration, a member of the parliament from the opposition party called the union and informed that the government was going to vote the law the day after. Within just a few hours, the Union organized a massive action. Hundreds of technical workers and flight crew who were on duty that night obtained medical records proving that they were too exhausted to attend to flights or to prepare planes to flights, which was in fact true. They got together at the airport and shouted “We are not flying tired today!”
The outcome was a massive demonstration, regarding the limited time to prepare the action. Turkish airlines prepared fake certificates to new employees who have not completed their training and sent them to flights. They even sent field managers as cabin crew in order to fly. Planes were sent without proper maintenance. Even with all this fraudulence, more than 150 flights were cancelled that day and at least 70 more were cancelled the day after because of the delays in other flights. The company had to declare a loss of US$ 2 million in just one day. The real losses are probably much higher. And all that the workers had to do was to ignore the employer’s orders and act in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Regulations. The government could not dare to vote the law and left it for one day more.
But then the attack began. The company shut down their fax machines and did not let the workers to send or submit their medical records, declaring this action as an illegal strike. They sent text messages to their phones telling that they were fired. Currently, the number of workers who have lost their jobs is 305 and it is continuing to increase. They also filed a case to the court, demanding the losses of the company from the workers and the Union. The government voted and accepted the law on 30th of May. The Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened the workers on TV, telling that they cannot go on a strike in a strategic industry, that they are harming our nation.
Even three military regime governments in the past could not dare to ban strikes in civil aviation permanently. In collaboration with the bosses, this totalitarian conservative government is starting an all out war against workers. It has to be counteracted immediately.
Boycott Turkish Airlines!
Airport Workers of the World, refuse to serve Turkish Airlines! Let their planes rot on the ground until they knee down in front of you and cancel this law of dishonor!
Agency Workers of the World, refuse to sell their tickets! Let their planes fly empty until your brothers and sisters get their jobs back!
* Devrimci Isci (The Revolutionary Worker) – is the Turkish section of the IWL-FI