General Strike?

strikeAttempts by the Prime Minister, Derviş Eroğlu, to persuade workers to take a pay cut seem to be falling on deaf ears. CTA flights were being cancelled this weekend. News is coming in that passengers on government owned CTA flights on Saturday are arriving to find them cancelled. One family arrived for the 0645 YK0061flight to Manchester only to be told that the flight may leave on Sunday at 0100. There was no offer of meal vouchers or alternative accommodation contrary to EU regulations. By 1300 on Saturday only two flights had departed. It is not clear which staff are on strike.

The government wants two main changes to public sector pay. Firstly they want cost of living increases to be calculated twice a year. As inflation is reducing this measure does not seem to have raised as many objections as the second, more controversial proposal. This proposal is to limit overtime payments and has incensed workers who see overtime as a method of increasing low wages to a liveable income. For example the the government supplies figures for the 1590 people working in customs, civil aviation and health to show they have an average basic salary without overtime of 3700 TL per month – £1480. On top of this is then added overtime which on average comes to 2200 TL per month – £880.

If employment practices here followed UK’s this would mean that someone working 40 hours per week would work an average of 15 hours per week overtime. What is being argued by the government is that many workers are deliberately working slowly in order to get this overtime. They say that genuine overtime will continue but this go slow work ethic must stop. I wonder if they’ll bring in the time and motion experts to determine how long in takes to do each job. It does take you back to the UK 1978-9 winter of discontent caused by trade unions feeling the Labour government had betrayed them. It paved the way for the election of Tory PM Maggie Thatcher and the weakening of trade unionism.

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