IAM General Vice President Sito Pantoja today called for the reinstatement of 305 Turkish Airlines employees who were illegally discharged in Istanbul after protesting the Turkish Government’s recent strike ban in the aviation sector and expressed serious concern about the airline’s disregard of international core labor standards.
In a meeting with Turkish Embassy officials in Washington D.C., Pantoja lodged an official complaint on behalf of the IAM and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and sought the immediate reinstatement of the 305 members of the ITF affiliate, Hava-Is. Turkish Embassy officials committed to relay the complaint to the Turkish Ambassador to the United States, as well as high-ranking government officials in Ankara.
ITF affiliate unions, including the IAM, are coordinating a response to pressure the Turkish government and Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines to lift the strike ban and reinstate the 305 illegally terminated workers.
“The right to strike is a human right,” said Pantoja, who also chairs the ITF’s Civil Aviation Section Committee. “The Turkish Government ratified International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 87, which grants the right to strike. They should honor that commitment.”
The IAM represents over 50,000 workers at Star Alliance carriers in North America, and will work closely with other Star Alliance unions across the globe to ensure the human rights of the illegally dismissed Turkish Airlines workers are respected.
“If we don’t defend these workers’ right to strike, our own rights could be targeted next,” said Pantoja.
The ITF created a special website and video to support the illegally terminated Turkish Airlines workers. For more information, visit www.reinstate305.org.