Workers Living in Tents Anti-Union Climate for Worker Deaths Blamed



The Turkish Union of Road, Construction and Building Workers (YOL-IS) recently came out and blamed subcontracting and the anti-union climate in the Turkish construction industry as the main reason behind the deaths of at least 11 construction workers, when fire engulfed a giant tent used as a dormitory for workers at a construction site in Istanbul.
In the Union's statement to the press, they condemned the terrible conditions faced by thousands of building workers: "Who will say “STOP” to this murder of workers which is a result of employment under irregular, precarious, uncontrolled, and nonunion conditions? When landslides happen, workers die! When dam shutters blow, workers die! When fires break out, workers die!" [WCx]

The Union wants immediate preventive action and profound changes.

According to more information from the statement, “Hundreds of workers at construction sites in Esenyurt, Istanbul are staying in dormitory tents in freezing conditions. Heaters are used in these tents and fires are happening. The preventable deaths of workers on construction sites are portrayed as accidents, because the key facts are always swept under the carpet. Most construction work is subcontracted, and bosses prevent workers from being organized in trade unions. This means there is no Labour Inspection, health and safety measures fall on deaf ears and employment and workplace rules are not complied with.”
Turkish police detained five people on suspicion of having acted negligently in the incident. Speaking to reporters, Labor Minister Faruk Celik stated the fire was still being investigated, adding that the heaters used by the workers to keep warm might have caused the fire .[WCx]
The Union added that recommendations and guidelines on construction workers' accommodation from the International Labour Organization and Development Institutions are ignored completely.

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:






Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.


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