British trade union activists are linking arms with others around the world to fight a vital union-busting battle in Turkey which has wider implications in this country.
Massive banners are being put up outside Unite offices around London in solidarity with hundreds of airline workers who were sacked by text and email by Turkish Airlines.
They were protesting against swingeing new Turkish laws depriving aviation workers of the right to strike and now the airline is also taking their union Hava-Is to court.
Unite activists are building up wider support because the escalating battle over basic trade union and human rights has a loud echo in this country.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt publicly admitted recently that ministers discussed sacking UK Border Agency staff threatening to strike before the Olympics.
He told Radio 5 Live Sportsweek at the time: "Sack them? That is the Ronald Reagan approach and I can tell you among ministers there have been people asking whether we should be doing that."
Unite's rank-and-file action is part of an International Transport Workers Federation global campaign calling for the reinstatement of the 305 sacked workers and the withdrawal of anti-strike laws.
Unite Heathrow regional co-ordinating officer Rhys McCarthy said: "We are fully supporting the campaign as a act of solidarity and because reactionary governments everywhere are taking succour from this decision."
This week 4.5 metre by 2.7 metre banners will be going up outside Unite Heathrow and its London and Eastern Regional Office in Green Lanes, where it works closely with the local north London Turkish community.
They'll be flying for the next few weeks. Last week a demo outside the Turkish embassy by around 50 trade unionists and reps of London's Turkish and Kurdish community urged visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to intervene.
The Turkish state owns 49.12 per cent of the airline and, despite already having tough laws covering trade unions, legislation was rushed through in May effectively banning strikes by airline workers.
They were already involved in talks with the airline during their yearly collective bargaining process when the legislation came out of the blue.
The decision sparked off international protests and airline workers wanted to demonstrate directly - but the only industrial action allowed to them was to go on a day's sick leave.
So 305 were sacked by text messages, email and telephone and now the airline is also planning to take Hava-Is to court in what the union believes is an attempt to destroy it.
ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: "There's little doubt that the very existence of free trade unions in Turkey is under threat."
Hava-Is said: "For us this is a question of all or nothing. We will either win or be smashed.
"There is no other option as we have no intention of becoming a non-functioning union."
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