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Stop Workers Dying of Workplace Accidents!


Association of International Workers’ Solidarity (UID-DER) is launching a campaign of struggle to end workplace accidents and occupational diseases. As part of this, we will collect signatures, submit them to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and make it clear through our voice that we will not remain silent in the face of workers’ dying of work accidents.


Workers, Toilers, Brothers/Sisters!

Workplace accidents have been increasing day by day. Every day we are hearing news about occupational accidents from factories, shipyards, mines and construction sites. Every month more than 100 workers on the average lose their lives at workplace, and many more workers are injured and permanently disabled.

1444 workers lost their lives in 2010 and 1563 workers in 2011 were victims of “occupational accidents” which may deservedly be called “occupational murders”.

In the first nine months of this year 642 more workers lost their lives. Occupational accidents ruin worker’s families’ lives, leave suffering widows and fatherless/motherless children behind.

Barıs Kıyak, who was working at a construction site of a shopping mall in Esenyurt (Istanbul), was burned to death while he was sleeping in one of the makeshift nylon tents. His mother says “I am suffering so much that I do not want to live. I wish I were dead.”

Hundreds of mothers, fathers, brothers/sisters, wives/husbands, sons/daughters are thinking the same way. They are suffering and shedding tears.

Who is responsible for these tears and pain?

Undoubtedly the employers and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Because employers avoid taking necessary precautionary measures for workers at work on the pretext that occupational health and safety measures are “costly”. And the AKP government turns a blind eye to this fact by not carrying out necessary inspections and imposing sanctions. On the contrary, it encourages employers to keep on the same way.

Is not it the AKP government itself that calls work accidents and resulting deaths as “destiny” and trivializes the deaths?

Let’s ask together: Why does not this destiny which continually claims the lives of workers happen to visit employers at all?

Brothers/Sisters!

Do you know Turkey is at the third rank in the world in terms of workplace accidents? According to the official figures 77.000 work accidents occur every year in Turkey. Each year hundreds of workers die and thousands of workers are injured and disabled due to work accidents.

The result is obvious: as employers’ profits rocket, workers’ lives are made a living hell.

In Turkey we have “Work Safety First” signboards hung in each workplace. Significantly they do not read “Human Safety First” or “Workers’ Safety First”. Why?

Because what employers care is not workers but growing their capital and profits.

The safety measures are actually not meant to ensure the safety of workers but to ensure the continuity of production. Work accidents reveal this fact abundantly.

Workplaces are almost totally free of inspection! As a result of increasing pressure the AKP government passed a new law which is called Occupational Health and Safety Law, alleging that this would put an end to work accidents. And what happened later?

Hundreds of workers lost their lives since July when the law was put into force.

The law involves only generalities which are destined to remain on paper, bringing no concrete and clear regulations in favour of workers.

To give an example, the number of workplace inspectors at Ministry of Labour is only 250 in spite of the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of workplaces and millions of workers.

Supposedly, employers who do not apply the law will be subject to heavy fines!

According to the law, it is necessary to establish work safety committees. But, somehow, workers are excluded to have a say in establishing these committees. The employers are authorized to establish them. Is not it clear that the employers will designate these committees as they wish? And the fine for employers who do not establish a committee is only 2000 Turkish Liras!

Obviously workers are mocked.

Moreover, the problem is not only the lack of precautionary measures. One of the basic reasons of work accidents is that workers are forced to work to death for long hours. To extend working hours and increase working tempo result in deaths rising multiply. There is not a single word in the new law about this aspect of the issue.

We say enough is enough!

Association of International Workers’ Solidarity (UID-DER) is launching a campaign of struggle to end workplace accidents and occupational diseases. As part of this, we will collect signatures, submit them to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and make it clear through our voice that we will not remain silent in the face of workers’ dying of work accidents. The government must act. To stop workers dying of work accidents, necessary steps must be taken to provide precautionary measures for workers’ safety at workplaces, new regulations in favour of workers must be passed and enforced in all workplaces with no strings attached. We call on all our toiling brothers/sisters to join our campaign, give their signatures and actively support our campaign!

- Do not remain silent on workers dying of work accidents!

- Workplace health and safety committees run by workers to be established in all workplaces! Those workers elected to these committees are to be protected from being fired!

- The wages of workplace doctors and occupational safety specialists must be paid by a state fund which is under control of trade-unions and professional associations!

- Heavy fines and penalty of imprisonment for those employers who don’t take necessary precautionary measures and allow inspection!

- Right to stop production by workers in case of lack of necessary precautionary measures!

- No night shift in heavy and dangerous jobs!

- Increase wages, decrease working hours!

Türkçe

1 November 2012






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