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Solidarity Action with Aviation Workers on the Anniversary of 15-16 June Revolt

On 16 June, the 42nd anniversary of the great workers’ revolt of 15-16 June 1970, trade-unions, political parties and democratic mass organisations protested the ban on strike action in aviation industry and sacking of aviation workers by Turkish Airlines (THY). The demonstration was held in Atatürk Airport. The Platform of Türk-İş [main trade-union confederation] Branches, the Platform of KESK [confederation of civil servants’ unions] Branches, HDK (Peoples’ Democratic Congress), UID-DER, BDSP, ÖDP, TKP and some MPs like Sabahat Tuncel (BDP) and Levent Tüzel were present in the demonstration to show their support for the aviation workers and their union Hava-İş (Civil Aviation Workers Union).

The mass gathered behind the banner “Against the Strike Ban; For a United Struggle with the Spirit of 15-16 June” and marched towards the picket line. During the march the mass enthusiastically shouted slogans such as “Aviation workers are not alone”, “Strike is a right, it cannot be banned”, “Reinstate sacked workers”, “Long live class solidarity” “Do not remain silent, one day it will be your turn”

The march ended in the picket line where the sacked workers have been gathering everyday. They welcomed the visitors by hand-clapping. The joint press statement of visiting trade-unions and other organisations was read out. After that MPs spoke to the crowd. All speakers fiercely protested the ban and called for a determined fight, unity and solidarity, also mentioning the glorious example of 15-16 June 1970 workers revolt.

The final speech was made by the chairman of Hava-İş (Civil Aviation Workers Union), Atilay Ayçin. Stressing the importance of the right of workers to strike, he said: “Strike is a sine-qua-non for us to get our rights in the face of the state and bosses. A union stripped of the right to strike is a union stripped of its power and the right to collective bargaining. They tried to block the collective bargaining for 8 months. They appealed for a change of industry thus trying to drop our entitlement to do collective bargaining. And this is what they do when we had the right to strike. Think of what’s to come when there is no right to go on a strike. It is clear that there will be no collective bargaining in the future. They put enormous pressure on our members, divide us with dirty tricks, slandering etc.” He finished his words by saying “we set out to wage a struggle and will not back down whatever the costs will be.” And he shouted the slogan “we’ll not back down and fight till the end” and the crowd joined him en masse.

The action was finished with a big ring of Halay (the most famous folk dance in Turkey) by the picketing workers who had been sacked.

Vigorous and massive support from UID-DER!

To support aviation workers and say no to the strike ban and repression of trade-union activity, UID-DER took part in the action with its contingent that marched to the starting point of the march. UID-DER’s march was under the banner “Heighten the Fight with the Spirit of 15-16 June against Strike Bans and Repression of Union Activity!” During the whole march UID-DER contingent expressed its solidarity with aviation workers with many slogans: “Turkish Airlines worker is not alone”, “Stop political and trade-union bans”, “Crisis-War-Unemployment, workers power is the only solution”, “Job security for all workers”, “Workers die as capital grows! Down with the domination of capital”, “Higher wages, shorter working hours”, “Workers of the World, Unite.” These slogans were shouted during the combined march towards the picketing aviation workers as well.

After the press statement in the picket line UID-DER did not leave the place. UID-DER Women’s Committee delivered carnations to the picketing woman workers, wishing them success in their struggle and telling them that they would not leave them alone. The importance of woman workers being on the front line of the struggle was stressed.

UID-DER’s Workers’ Chorus sang songs of fight and the picketing workers joined the ring of Halay en masse. There were fraternal conversations and exchange of experiences. Workers from UID-DER left the picket line again with the slogans “Turkish Airlines worker is not alone”, “Long live class solidarity”.

16 June 2012






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