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The News Line: Feature TURKISH AIRLINES WORKERS CONTINUE THEIR STRUGGLE
Picket of the Turkish embassy in London on July 27 in support of the sacked Turkish Airlines workers
305 THY (Turkish Airlines) workers who were sacked because they rose against the banning of their strike action in the aviation industry by law, keep their struggle on.

As Hava-0 (Civil Aviation Workers Union) members they have not left the Ataturk Airport’s International Flights Terminal since they were fired.

They demand they be reinstated and the strike ban recalled. In response to Hava-0’s appeal they have been offered solidarity on a national and international level.

SGBP (Trade-unions Collaboration Platform) which was formed by ten dissident unions within the biggest workers unions confederation, Turk-0, held mass press meetings on 9 June in many cities across Turkey, and visited the striking workers on 16 and 24 June.

Hava-0 officials and striking workers, referring to the recent actions in support, say that they are determined.

One of these actions (on 27 July) was also participated in by the ITF Maritime Coordinator Stephen Cotton.

He and many workers and officials from many trade-unions visited the striking aviation workers in the airport. In his speech he promised to continue international support through the ITF and organise an action in London.

Following the visit of Stephen Cotton from the ITF, British workers tried to make an action in support of THY workers. ITF and Unite tried to march towards the Turkish embassy in London to protest against the Turkish government’s attitude and express their solidarity with the striking THY workers.

Hava-0 had made a medal to be given to Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan who was in London to join the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

ITF and Unite tried to submit this medal to the Turkish embassy. On the medal it was written that demands of THY workers must be respected.

Union representatives and workers who were carrying 305 red and white balloons representing the sacked workers were not allowed to march to the embassy.

Stephen Cotton said: ‘It is shameful that we are not allowed to submit the gold medal, but they could not prevent us from highlighting what we aimed at.’

Such international solidarity actions are helping the struggle of the THY workers. In fact they need more international support and actions to increase the pressure on the government.

Hava-0 chairman Atilay AyÁin emphasised the importance of international workers solidarity and expressed their need for international support from trade-unions.

l The ITF and global union partner UNI are calling on affiliated unions to show solidarity with DHL workers in Turkey who have been sacked in what appears to have been an anti-union attack.

The 24 warehouse workers, were dismissed in July at DHL’s warehouses in Kırac, Esenvur and Gebze.
The move seems to have been triggered by an organising drive by the ITF-affiliated union Turkiye Motorlu Tasit Iscileri Sendikasi (TUMTIS).

Despite ITF and UNI efforts to facilitate talks between management and TUMTIS, DHL has failed to engage in meaningful dialogue with the union and is adamant that it will not reinstate the workers.

As a result the ITF and UNI have now launched a campaign for solidarity action with the workers, beginning with union protest letters to the company.

Ingo Marowsky, ITF organising globally coordinator, said: ‘These workers appear to have been sacked for exercising their fundamental right to organise and be part of a union.

‘We cannot stand by and watch DHL wilfully undermine workers’ rights in this way.

‘That’s why we are making this call for solidarity. We are also working with TUMTIS to coordinate further action in support of workers should this dispute not be resolved.’

At the end of last month, ITF maritime coordinator Stephen Cotton met TUMTIS leaders at the picket line to discuss the sackings and highlight the ITF’s support for the workers.

l Thirty-five members of IndustriALL Global Union’s Turkish affiliate TEKSIF are struggling for their basic trade union rights at Texim which produces for major brands such as Hugo Boss, Mayline, Escada, Bogner, Falke, Marc Cain, Roy Robson, Pierre Cardin, Park Bravo.

TEKSIF (the Textile, Knitting and Garment Industry Workers Union) has been campaigning for union organizing at Turkish-based garment company Texim, which employs around 700 workers, for some time, and has so far managed to gain important ground with a significant part of the workforce joining the union.

Texim management recently unilaterally announced that operators in the knitting department must increase their output by fifty per cent with additional machines supplied for their use.

Workers in the knitting department led the unionization at the plant, and have always been at forefront of the struggle as the principal target for the employer.

The unilaterally imposed increase in output by the company resulted in substantial changes in working conditions. TEKSIF’s thirty-five members working as operators rejected Texim’s announcement.

In fact, article 22 of the Turkish Labour Law coded 4857, related to change in working conditions and termination of labour contracts, stipulates that the parties may changes the working conditions anytime upon mutual consent in a defined procedure.

Company management continued to threaten operators with dismissal if they did not approve their unilateral decision.

At the time when these discussions were taking place, IndustriALL Global Union’s General Secretary Jyrki Raina wrote a message, on 27 July, to the owner of Texim, Mr Haldun Boz, and urged him to stop these threats, and provide a smooth working environment for workers where they can be productive and feel free to exercise their rights guaranteed by national and international standards.

As of the morning shift on 6 August, Texim dismissed the thirty-five operators in the knitting department, and the dismissed workers started to picket in front of the plant located in Merter, a famous textile district of Istanbul.

The picket has wide community and trade union support. Following a long march in central Istanbul, TEKS0F leaders, along with dismissed workers, met with the German General Consul in Istanbul, since Texim produces for the German market, overwhelmingly for Hugo Boss.

The union delegation raised the problems they faced in the process of recruitment at the direct manufacturing plant of Hugo Boss in Izmir as well as in its major suppliers: Texim in Istanbul and Edirne Giyim in the Thrace region.

In his last message, Jyrki Raina said to Texim that ‘this is completely unacceptable to us since you terminate contracts of all these workers because of their union membership.

‘I strongly urge you to stop dismissals, re-instate dismissed workers, and enter into meaningful dialogue with TEKSIF as the legitimate representative of the workforce at Texim.’

IndustriALL Global Union continues to escalate the campaign for re-instatement of dismissed workers at Texim, and takes the issue to different platforms for an immediate solution.
 
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