European and global union outcry over Turkey anti-strike legislation

May 31, 2012

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) has passed a resolution at its executive board meeting decrying an attempt to outlaw the right to take strike action in the aviation industry through a legislative amendment.

The executive board of the ETF, the ITF’s European arm, unanimously passed the resolution at its meeting in Brussels on 31 May. The board noted “that the existing anti-trade union legislation in Turkey already prohibits strikes in a number of transport sectors” and deplored the fact that the recent amendment submitted to the Turkish general assembly by a deputy of the governing political party AKP would have the effect of extending this prohibition and imposing a fully fledged ban on the right to strike in the civil aviation industry.

The board expressed strong support for the Turkish civil aviation union and ITF affiliate Hava-Is, which has announced a new wave of protests to resist this ban, and pledged solidarity with Turkish aviation workers, who are fighting for their fundamental rights.

The amendment was rushed through the general assembly last night and is currently awaiting the approval of Turkish president Abdullah Gul. ITF general secretary David Cockroft and International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) general secretary, Sharan Burrow, issued a stern letter to the president on 31 May. In it they warned that ITF and ITUC affiliates would be “mobilising to support Hava-Is and its members in their struggle to defend decent working conditions in the aviation industry in Turkey, using all lawful means available to us.

“We strongly urge you to consider the very negative message that the government of Turkey would be sending to the international community if it implements this ban, and to show leadership and foresight by sending the strike ban amendment back to parliament to avert further escalation of this dispute.”

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