ITF and Hava-Is lodge Turkey ILO complaint

March 22, 2013

The  ITF and its Turkish affiliate Hava-Is have lodged a complaint with the ILO against both the Turkish government and Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier.

The complaint is against the government in relation to the conduct of Turkish Airlines that led to the dismissal of 305 workers in May 2012. The ITF and Hava-Is believe that the carrier’s conduct exposes several failures in Turkish law to protect the rights of workers and trade unions, for which the Turkish government is responsible, as a member of the ILO and a signatory of conventions 87 and 98.

The ITF and Hava-Is argue that Turkey’s new Law of Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements (LTUCLA) is inadequate. Given the seriousness of the carrier’s trade union rights violations, they urge the ILO’s Committee of Freedom of Association (CFA) to find Turkey to be in breach of its ILO convention obligations and to call on it to amend the LTUCLA so that the law fully conforms with freedom of association principles.

The union organisations also ask the CFA to call on the Turkish government to seek the immediate reinstatement of the remaining dismissed workers, with full back pay and adequate compensation. The workers were sacked for democratically and peacefully protesting against the government’s attempts to ban strikes in the civil aviation industry.

Hava-Is president Atilay Aycin commented: "The pressure generated from official action by the ILO would send an important message to the Turkish government and Turkish Airlines that the international labour family will not let basic rights of workers and trade unions be taken away on the demand of an employer."

He concluded: "Our fight will continue until our members are reinstated and freedom of association will exist not only on paper but also in Turkey."

ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho added: “There is widespread sympathy and support among aviation workers worldwide for their Turkish colleagues. Thanks to the well-coordinated international solidarity action of ITF affiliated unions, Hava-Ýþ managed to reverse the ban on the right to strike in the aviation industry four months ago. However, 305 unfairly dismissed workers remain without work.

“This complaint will make life difficult for the Turkish government, which has ratified ILO conventions 87 and 98 on freedom of association and protection of the right to organise. After this application, the ILO will keep on monitoring Turkey’s labour rights record more closely, as will the EU, of which Turkey is seeking membership.”

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