Industrial Relations in Turkey

Social Dialogue matters

300 Turkish Airlines employees fired using SMS due to strike participation

In protest against governmental plans to limit the right to strike of aviation workers, the Turkish civil aviation Union, Hava-Is, organized a slowdown strike on Tuesday 29th of 2012. Consequently, Turkish Airlines (THY) was forced to cancel multiple flights on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Illegal strike?

The immediate cause for the Hava-Is strike action was a draft law presented by various members of the ruling AKP government which is to prohibit strike and lock-out action in the aviation sector. Therefore, the Türk-Is affiliated Hava-Is union called for a strike which was followed up by large proportions of the Turkish Airlines personnel.Hackers also attacked the Turkish Airlines website.

Both Turkish Airlines as the minister of Transport condemned the strike action and promised to take the necessary actions.The Turkish Airlines spokesman, Ali Genç, noted on Twitter that, “The Hava-Is Union has made an illegal call for a strike and some workers have responded to this call. (…)”. He hereby refers to the collective agreement between Turkish Airlines and Hava-Is limiting severely the right to strike for the length of the agreement.Therefore Hava-Is preferred to call for a slow-down strike in which multiple employees reported to be sick, leading to various canceled flights.

The Hava-Is union on the other hand refers to the fundamental right to strike which is being put into question by the proposed AKP legislation. They therefore refer to various ILO conventions.


Turkish Airlines responded by firing 300 workers who participated in the strike actions. In doing so, Turkish Airlines used only mail and SMS to contact the fired workers (link). Hava-Is officials state that the company has no right to fire employees using these methods of communication.

Although Hava-Is is affiliated to Türk-Is, the confederation until now hesitates to support the strike. DISK and KESK on the contrary communicated their support for the strike actions (link & link). Former DISK president and current member of parliament, Süleyman Celebi, also supports the Hava-Is strike.

International support for the strike is meanwhile mobilized. The American AFL-CIO, the European Transport Workers’ Federation, the International Transport Workers’ Federation,

On the stock-exchange, the Turkish Airlines shares fell as a consequence of the strike.


4 comments on “300 Turkish Airlines employees fired using SMS due to strike participation

  1. B. Kalkan
    June 20, 2012

    Among these 300 workers there were some who didn’t attend the strike but who were still fired as a mistake. THY confirmed this mistake and responded by saying: “Kurunun yaninda yas da yanar”, to mention that they won’t hire these back. In the mean time, the minister tried to negotiate (as 49% of the company is from the state) without a result. Such a reckless and immoral company!

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This entry was posted on May 31, 2012 by in DISK, KESK, Strike, Türk-Is and tagged , , , , .
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