300 miners across two shifts at a mine in the Black Sea area of Zonguldak have barricaded themselves underground in protest at atrocious health and safety. Turkey has the worst mine safety record across all of Europe, with 2,554 miners losing their lives since 1991. They have vowed to continue their protest until the demands have been met.
The protest was initiated by workers on the night shift , and then gained widespread support from those who were due to work the day shift. Around 2000 workers who did not wish to go underground have been conducting a protest outside the mine in solidarity with their colleagues.
The miners have a long list of demands that relate to health and safety considerations, including issues such as, adequate boots and coats, which you would assume should be an absolute basic in any work environment. At the other end of the scale there are serious concerns such as doors being locked from the outside during work hours, and the length of time it takes emergency vehicles to reach the mine following an accident. The miners gave an example of a worker that had suffered a heart attack having to wait 35 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
A spokesperson for the miners said that:
“They have reached the end of their rope. No manager has been appointed to the business for the past five months, and nobody says anything about it. The main paths inside the mine collapsed 6 months ago. There are not enough workers and mine paths are unsafe.”
Turkey has the worst mining health and safety record in Europe and the third worst in the world, with thousands of workers losing their lives since 1991. Earlier this year two miners a gas leak killed 8 workers, and in 2010 30 workers died underground from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Despite receiving reports of walls collapsing and ceilings crumbling, the bosses just carry on regardless, treating serious injury and death as just an everyday workplace event.