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Turkish court rejects lawsuit seeking to halt Sputnik Turkish employees’ strike

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An İstanbul court has dismissed an attempt by the executives of the Turkish bureau of Russian state-owned news agency and radio broadcast service Sputnik to halt a strike the outlet’s employees launched last month due to their unmet demands, the Evrensel daily reported.

Sputnik Turkish employees decided to go on strike in July when collective bargaining talks between the media organization and the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) broke down. The strike began on Aug. 17.

In addition to a pay rise, the journalists are demanding the reinstatement of 24 of their colleagues who were fired after they joined the TGS in early August  on the pretext of the downsizing the newsroom due to financial problems.

Sputnik’s İstanbul office director Maksim Durnev, Sputnik Ankara Office representative Elena Kochetkova and the Turkey office of the Russian state-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, of which Sputnik is a part, filed a lawsuit against the TGS seeking an injunction on the strike by the Sputnik Turkish employees.

The İstanbul 4th Labor Court rejected the lawsuit, upholding the journalists’ right to strike.

The right to strike is guaranteed in the Turkish Constitution, with Article 54 stating that “workers have the right to strike in the event of a labor dispute arising during negotiations for the conclusion of a collective agreement,” but labor unions say it exists only on paper since workers face the risk of being fired when they go on strike.

Sputnik Turkish employees say they will continue their strike until their dismissed colleagues are reinstated and the demands of the TGS for the journalists for better pay are met.

Journalists, who are frequently subjected to physical attacks and legal harassment due to their profession in Turkey, are also hard-hit by an economic crisis in the country amid skyrocketing inflation and the continuous depreciation of the Turkish lira.

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