We are very sorry to be coming back online after a while with such bad news:
157 workers were killed in the Soma coal mine in Turkey yesterday. 273 workers are still unaccounted for. They join the 270 people who died in work-related accidents in the first three months of 2014.
According to International Labor Organization (ILO) figures, Turkey ranks first in Europe and third in the world for fatal work accidents. The ILO says 18 out of 100,000 insured laborers die every year in work accidents, seven times greater than the EU average of 2.5.
Those who are fortunate enough to live hardly face brighter prospects. More than a million subcontracted workers in the private and public sector work without job security, deprived of their right to join unions and participate in collective bargaining.
Millions more work as minimum-waged labourers, making 846 TL [US$400] per month, below the official hunger limit of 1,200 TL per month.
Coal miners are expected to die in this land of cheap labour and expendable lives. “Dying,” Turkish PM Erdogan declared following a 2010 explosion that killed 30 workers at a Zonguldak mine, “is the fate of the coal miner.” “Those who enter this profession should be aware of its risks.”
Not fate. Nor accident. This is systematic murder.
“On April 29, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had submitted a motion to Parliament to investigate work-related accidents at the mine in Soma, only for the proposal to be rejected with votes from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).”
This blogger knows at least one academic personally who have been sarning the government about occupational deaths. Coal – why coal at this day and age with such wind and solar potential in the country anyway? And how dare a PM say – as Erdogan did a few years back – that risk of death is part of mining and miners accept it when they take on the job. Even if statistically this is the case where in the job description of a PM it says “make statements based on statistics, make no attempt to change them”!
Checking the social media – some are not covering this for whatever reason, some are expressing their outrage through prayer, some are organsing demonstrations. Last year almost to the day there was a bombing in Reyhanli, which was a crucial factor in pushing at least some people to the streets, this year will Soma be the same? In the meantime, innocent people continue to die.
The authorities cannot give a certain number as to exactly how many miners were under ground at the time of the explosion. Isn’t this enough sign that health & safety rules were not adhered to?
A tweet acount opened just to make one statement about the accident said that one worker was taken out on strecher with oxygen mask on his face, when his sister held his hand it was alreay cold, she fought her way into the ambulance, when the doors closed they pulled the mask off and covered his face with blanket. They wanted to show him as wounded to the media and people waiting, while he’d already been dead.
The number of deaths at 157 seems to be a deliberate underestimate.
Within half an hour of writing the above the number killed rose to 201.
Apologies for typos, post written on a phone.