Mine workers in Turkey demand justice!

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On 2 Sept 2014, 113 days after the death of 301 workers at the coal mine in Soma, Manisa, Turkey, Metin Kesin died at a mine run by İmbat Inc. This sorrowful death is the obvious evidence of violations of the occupational health and safety in the privatized mines and the irresponsibility of employers and government even after an occupational massacre which has drawn world’s attention on Turkey. In order to maximize their profit and lower labor costs, these companies adopt methods from violation of job security to threatening workers and even using violence against trade unionists. On 3 Sept 2014, while trade unionists Kamil Kartal, Başaran Aksu and Onur Uzan expressed their condolence to Metin Keskin’s family at the deceased house, a group related to the mining company attacked trade unionists.

The Progressive Union of Mine Workers’ (Dev Maden-Sen) which is an affiliate of DİSK increased its membership and strengthened its organization as a result of mistrust against company union and the changing political climate in the region, says Eliaçık, International Director of DİSK[1]. Companies are very disturbed by the increasing interest of workers to join Dev Maden-Sen, unionists state. The last incident shows how they intensified the oppression after the death of Metin Keskin. The company union under the rule of the mine company started physically assault trade unionists of Dev Maden-Sen even at the hospital yard while Metin Keskin was having an operation and continued their assaults at the deceased house. Trade unionists said “They also tried to provoke the community by blaming us to be marginals.”

DİSK’s public statement calls attention to the fact that the government did not start any effective prosecution and failed to take any preventive measures, including the creation of refuge chambres in the mine after the massacre. 15 demands were submitted to the parliament following the miner’s rally, including the claim to prohibit outsourcing “but AKP put off the amendment until our comrade, Metin Kesin passed away”, DISK spokesman says. Besides, in order to meet the production deficit caused by closure of mines after the “accident”, workers are forced to work longer hours and the death of Metin Keskin is the obvious result of this policy. “This is a murder, the system promoting outsourcing is the murderer, the ones who consider workers just as a cost element and value mine bosses’ interests above human life are murderers”, DISK states.[2]


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