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Campaign for mine safety in Turkey targets precarious work

29 May, 2014Turkish unions have been vociferous in their campaign against illegal and irresponsible outsourcing and subcontracting in the country on the occasion of the Soma industrial homicide.

Joint union mass demonstrations together with miners who survived Soma have been conducted in several Turkish cities, most notably Istanbul.

The primary demands have been on the government to account for the murders and injuries at Soma, a large percentage of miners are precarious workers, and abolish the dangerous subcontracting system in Turkey. As legislative protection of workers’ rights have weakened since 2002, and the government even  intends to open sub-contracting to main industrial and mine production through a new legislation, the total number of temporary workers in Turkey has today risen to 2.5 million.

Precarious workers in Turkey’s mines are vulnerable and underpaid. Their right to collective organizing and bargaining is blocked, they are unskilled and inexperienced, and mine employers pay temporary workers low wages and no overtime or health insurance.

In the meantime, instead of confronting the abusive corporate behaviour in Turkey’s mining industry to avoid a repeat of the Soma disaster, the government and employer has conducted a large campaign to shift blame onto the union movement to run away from main responsibility of the Soma carnage.

IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan stated: "This false and malicious campaign just aims at diverting the attention of public opinion from those trully responsible."
IndustriALL campaigns under the belief that: “The stronger the union, the safer the mine”. According to official figures, there are 48,706 mineworkers in Turkey who deserve to work in safety and this would best be achieved by Turkey ratifying and implementing ILO Convention 176. A draft law on working conditions in the mining industry is currently being drafted.

A joint IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll Europe mission will visit Soma on 19-20 June to assess and plan the work toward implementation of C176 together with local unions and the mining community.

On 22 May leaders of IndustriALL Global Union and industriAll Europe delivered their message and demands to the Turkish Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels, Mr. Selim Yenel.

The IndustriALL affiliated mineworkers union is directingsolidarity payments for the families of killed miners of Soma to a special bank account opened by their national trade union centre Turk-Is. Turk-Is is a member of the ITUC and ETUC.

Details of the Soma solidarity bank account:
Name of Bank: Vakıfbank
Branch: Turk-Is
IBAN: TR72 0001 5001 5800 7289 9943 61
Bank account in the name of Turk-Is Confederation

Address of the relevant branch of the bank:

Vakifbank Turk-Is Branch
Cumhuriyet Mahallesi, Tuna Caddesi, No:9
Cankaya 06420 Ankara Turkey  
Phone: +90-312-435 2081
Fax: +90-312-2083