A consensus accord between Turkish Airlines (THY) and the ITF-affiliated Turkish civil aviation union (Hava-Is) on 19th December will ensure the reinstatement of 305 sacked workers and end a 20-month dispute at the airline. A collective agreement covering 2013, 2014 and 2015 was also reached.
The 305 workers in question were laid off after taking action in May 2012 to protest against legislation banning strikes in the aviation industry. Despite court rulings in favour of more than 170 of the dismissed members of Hava-Is, the airline repeatedly refused to reinstate any of the workers. A significant ITF campaign was launched to support the union and “reinstate the 305”. In March 2013 the ITF, together with Hava-Is, lodged a complaint against the Turkish government at the ILO.
Commenting on the agreement, the union’s newly-elected president, Ali Kemal Tatlibal said that all 305 workers will be reinstated and that THY managers had also agreed not to hire part-time cabin crew and to shift existing part-time cabin crew contracts to full time jobs.
ITF civil aviation section secretary Gabriel Mocho declared: “We are delighted to see that a deal has been finally reached through proper negotiation between THY and our affiliate Hava-Is – showing that determination pays off. It’s a fantastic outcome that we hope will help the Turkish government to repair its tarnished reputation.”
December 24, 2013
ITF affiliates the Swaziland Transport & Allied Workers’ Union (STAWU) continued strike action against the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) over a wage dispute last week. Meanwhile, STAWU secured a cost of living increase in a dispute with Swaziland Airlink on 17 December, putting further pressure on SWACAA to come to an agreement with the union.
The strike against SWACAA, which started on 12 December, was called in response to apparent employer intransigence over a living wage for workers. When the union asked for higher wages to reflect cost of living increases, SWACAA management claimed to be bound by government restrictions on what they could pay. Management also stated that any increases beyond their offer would need to be approved through a complex structure, ending in Cabinet of Ministers approval.
When the Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration Commission (CMAC) ruled deadlock, SWACAA implemented its proposed pay rise – without worker consultation. The union called a strike in response, and a number of those who took part were reported to be facing arrest.
This is not the first time that Swaziland’s trade union rights record has been in the spotlight. Back in June, the country was name-checked in an ITUC report on trade union rights abuses, with a special focus on the illegitimate arrests of union activists in light of their opposition to the absolute monarchy in the country.
STAWU industrial relations officer Sticks Nkambule yesterday praised ‘the constructive tone of engagement from the management team of Swaziland Airlink’. ITF Africa regional secretary Joseph Katende hailed the wage victory: “This is a great example of a constructive relationship between management and staff– we congratulate Swaziland Airlink on their engagement with workers. We hope that SWACAA learn from and follow this example.”
The dispute with SWACAA continues.
December 19, 2013
Transport workers and their union representatives are being attacked, interrogated, and suspended by police, militia, government, employers and the media in Tunisia. They have had enough and have called a one-day strike on 12 December 2013 in response to the continuing erosion of workers’ rights. Why? Workers in the sector, belonging to transport federations FNT-UGTT, […]
December 10, 2013
Salaries and working conditions for the 122 Gate Gourmet workers at Geneva Airport have been governed since 1997 by a CBA negotiated by their union, SSP, the Public Service Workers Union. Despite improving profits at Geneva Airport, the company proposed salary cuts and fewer benefits in collective bargaining in 2013. Send a message to Gate […]
December 9, 2013
There is little doubting the ambitions of the giant Middle Eastern airlines, but recent large plane orders demonstrated just how aggressively these carriers plan to compete in coming years. The three airlines — Emirates, Etihad Airlines and Qatar Airways — all based in a small area, already operate more wide-body airplanes than all the American […]
December 2, 2013
The ITF is taking action to support a Swaziland Airlink engineer, who has been dismissed after reporting an alleged racist incident at the hands of a white cabin crew member.
Vusi Nxumalo, who was based in Johannesburg when the alleged incident took place in January 2013, filed a grievance reporting that he had been the victim of harassment, manhandling and offensive, racist language.
Following the hearing, the cabin crew member – who is employed by South African Airlink, a partner of Swaziland Airlink – received a written warning for manhandling Mr Nxumalo. However the engineer`s racism claim was thrown out as false. Mr Nxumalo was then accused of submitting a false statement and of gross insolence towards the cabin crew member. His union, the ITF-affiliated Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (STAWU) successfully represented him and he was cleared of both charges – but he remained suspended, despite further solidarity support by STAWU and sister affiliate the South African Transport & Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU).
Finally, Swaziland Airlink wrote to inform Mr Nxumalo of its decision to terminate his employment, saying South African Airlink – to whom it claims he was seconded – had lost confidence in him.
The contention of the ITF and STAWU is that serious irregularities have occurred in the events leading up to Mr Nxumalo’s dismissal. In the first place, they argue, he had not been seconded to South African Airlink at all, but, like all other Swaziland Airlink maintenance engineers, was based in Johannesburg to work on aircraft fully leased to the Swazi company. Moreover, no written record of the initial grievance hearing has been issued; company and legal codes empowering employees to file grievances have been disregarded; and a legal obligation on the part of the employer to consult with an employee and/or his union in an attempt at mitigation before any termination has been ignored.
In a letter to the management of Swaziland Airlink on 13 November, ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho warned the ITF was ready to mobilise publicity and international solidarity in support of Mr Nxumalo.
ITF African regional secretary Joe Katende said: “ITF Africa affiliates embrace the culture of ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’, and will fight for him to the successful end.”
Read more about ITF affiliates in Swaziland at http://bit.ly/11YBiSx – solidarity in Swaziland
November 29, 2013
On 23 November, a group of Borussia Dortmund supporters and trade unionists staged a protest ahead of the match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München in Dortmund. Dozens of protestors gathered in front of the Signal Iduna Park stadium and held placards reading “A real Scandal; Turkish Airlines: Anti-worker and hostile towards the union; […]
November 27, 2013
Airport workers in Bulgaria have reached an agreement on pay and conditions with their employer just minutes before the start of a national protest organised by the Соnfederation of the Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria. The agreement, which was signed during the weekend of 20 November between the ITF-affiliated union Federation of Transport Trade Unions […]