Victory of Hava-Is! Istanbul strike win

May 26, 2011

Workers at Turkish Engine Center (TEC), a company based near Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport, have reached an agreement on pay and conditions on the very first day of indefinite strike action.

Very first minutes of the strike
Members of Hava-Is, the Turkish Civil Aviation Union, had been involved in a five-month long dispute which ended with the management being obliged to yield to their demands. A new collective bargaining agreement will now see workers benefit from an overall real wage increase of 12 per cent, including a substantial increase in social benefits over a three-year period covering 2010, 2011 and 2012.
TEC is a joint venture between Pratt & Whitney and Turkish Technic for the maintenance overhaul and repair of CFM56 and V2500 engines, and has a workforce of 235 employees. Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies, holds a 51 percent controlling share in the company.
Kemal Ulker, Hava-Is international relations and education officer, explained: “TEC workers voted overwhelmingly to authorise a strike by Hava-Is, which represents more than 15,000 aviation workers including pilots, cabin crew members, ground handling workers and technicians and mechanics.
“In the face of the company management’s derisory wage offer, 80 per cent of those who voted supported the action. By giving a clear mandate for an indefinite strike TEC workers clearly demonstrated that they had no intention of letting the company play games with their members.”
He continued: “TEC management thought it could break this strike but on its first day they realised they had failed. The unity of the workers had succeeded. The feeling of victory is very strong among our rank and file members. Their struggle for what they believe in has paid off.”
“International solidarity definitely played a role,” Kemal Ulker concluded. “First of all the management were aware that Hava-Is is an active affiliate of the ITF. And more concretely a letter from the ITF to Pratt & Whitney in the US had an important impact. “
Gabriel Mocho, ITF civil aviation section secretary, commented: “Once again our friends in Hava-Is have stood up for the aviation workers of a nation whose legal system puts every impediment it can in the way of industrial action.”

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