Friday, July 27, 2012

Labour Troubles Hit Turkish Airlines and Freight and Logistics Interests

Olympic Protests Against National Carrier and Problems Reported at DHL
Shipping News Feature

UK – TURKEY - Today in London the planned protest against the dismissal of 305 Turkish Airlines workers went ahead when around 50 trade unionists from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and Unite union plus representatives of London’s Turkish and Kurdish community turned out in London to urge visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, here for the Olympic Games ceremony, to ensure the reinstatement of the sacked staff. Freight and logistics giant DHL’s Turkish operation also came in for criticism during the rally.

Against the backdrop of protestors bearing banners and 305 red and white balloons, senior officials from the protesting labour groups tried to hand in to the Turkish Embassy a ‘gold Olympic medal’ made by the workers’ trade union Hava-Is but were denied access. According to Stephen Cotton, ITF Maritime Co-ordinator, who took part in the rally, the Turkish Airline workers, who occupied various positions in the company, were sacked by text, phone and email for protesting when their legal right to strike was removed. Mr Cotton added:

“Our good-natured and vocal protest served to remind PM Erdogan that Turkey’s reputation internationally rests as much with the way its workers and their trade unions are treated as with the Olympic values of its athletes competing in the 2012 Games. It’s a shame we were not allowed to deliver the ‘gold medal’ but it didn’t prevent us from making our point strongly. The government owns the majority share in Turkish airlines so should act now to reinstate the workers and to call a halt to attacks on workers’ and union rights."

Speaking of more problems affecting his members in Turkey, ITF General Secretary David Cockroft was keen to see conciliation in the ongoing dispute with DHL which he said was ‘worrying’, adding:

“Around 25 workers have been sacked from several warehouses in what appears to be anti-union action. This week the ITF and UNI have made a number of proposals to facilitate talks between DHL Turkey and Tümtis, the union representing the sacked workers. Tümtis has a strong track record of winning workers' rights in the global delivery sector, supported by the international trade union family. The ITF and Tümtis are working hard to avoid a de-escalation of this dispute. Solutions for workers need to be found ASAP, interference needs to end and all parties need to sit down and talk. We are hopeful that DHL will play their part in achieving this."