Thousands of Turkish Airlines staff set to strike

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Thousands of Turkish Airlines staff are set to go on strike on Wednesday to demand that some 300 of their colleagues are reinstated after they were fired last year for staging a similar action.

The 14,000 workers are also demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Turkish Airlines employs around 16,000 people.

Turkey's only aviation union, Hava-Is, said the unlimited strike action would start at 0200 GMT (10am Singapore time) on Wednesday.

In June 2012, the airline dismissed 305 employees for staging a strike that lasted several days.

Despite months of negotiations, union representatives and airline officials have not been able to strike an agreement on the issue.

In an interview broadcast by news channel NTV on Monday, airline chief executive Hamdi Topcu said there was no "legal reason for the strike".

"We won't put pressure on employees who want to respect their union's call. But I personally think that in the morning of May 15, all... aircraft will take off without problem," he said.

Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek recently said that "we won't allow for (Turkish Airlines) operations to be disrupted, especially not ahead of the tourist season".

Last year, the airline carried a total of 39 million passengers.