Solidarity picket of Turkish Airlines

On Saturday 14 July an international ‘Day of Action’ protest took place demanding the right to strike and reinstatement of 305 sacked Turkish aviation workers.

Hava-Is the aviation trade union had been in negotiations with Turkish Airlines over several months over ‘Mass Employment Agreements’, which broke down. The government, with the backing of the Turkish president Abdullah Gul, then brought in a new law preventing aviation workers from taking strike action. The airline workers reacted to the ban with a one-day strike. Following this action 305 workers were sacked.

On the day of action in Hackney, London, Turkish trade unionists and political activists organised an eye-catching protest outside travel agencies that sell Turkish Airlines flights, with banners and placards and a giant inflated rat (supplied by the Unite trade union)! Similar events were held around Europe.

Many shoppers, pedestrians, local business people took leaflets and signed the petitions in support of the sacked worker, while activists chanted “the workers united will never be defeated”. Unite produced placards showing its support for the aviation workers.

Turkish workers and trade unionists explained how the banning of strikes was against Turkey’s own constitutional law and contradictory to the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation (ILO) charter.

A further protest was held outside the Turkish Airlines UK HQ in Hammersmith, West London.

Patrick Atkinson, Hackney Socialist Party and Unite-LE 1111 branch (personal capacity)