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Turkish Air to Comply With Court Ban on Replacing Workers

Turkish Airlines said it will comply with a court ruling barring it from hiring workers to replace some employees who have been on strike since mid-May.

The carrier, formally known as Turk Hava Yollari AS, will abide by the Istanbul labor court ruling of July 9, Ali Genc, a spokesman for the company, said in a telephone interview today.

Turkish Airlines has been at odds with employees over pay, with workers demanding a 12 percent increase, exceeding a company offer of a 3 percent raise in the first half and another 3 percent in the second. The Hava-Is trade union said on July 9 that the Istanbul-based carrier added about 700 workers and made arrangements with SunExpress joint venture and Jet Airways India Ltd. to make up for about 1,600 cabin crew who have held work stoppages since May 15.

Contracts for service and staff from SunExpress and Mumbai-based Jet Airways predate the strike and are based on long-term service supply deals, including leases of Boeing Co. 777 airliners from the Indian partner, Genc said.

Employees are seeking improved terms as Turkish Airlines expands its fleet and attracts more passengers to build Istanbul into a hub for intercontinental transfer flights. Flight attendants fly at least 115 hours a month, compared with an international standard of 80 hours, according to the union.

Turkish Airlines has a target of carrying 46 million passengers in 2013, 7 million more than a year earlier, including 27.3 million international travelers. The company said on May 22 that it was imposing a 6 percent pay increase in 2014, excluding inflation, and that contract talks are now “off our agenda.”

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