Sunday, June 08, 2008

The following article is from the Anarkismo site. Please see the original for some very interesting discussion on this issue.
Turkish Shipyard Workers Go on Strike to Stop Deaths
by Sevinc Karaca
82 Shipyard workers were killed in accidents at work

Turkish National Shipyard Workers go on strike on 16th of June to stop workplace deaths in Tuzla, near Istanbul in Turkey.

There have been 11 deaths since the Minister of Employment and Social Security promised the issue was going to be handled by the ministry and the workers would be listened to on 8th of September last and 82 in total in the last 5 years since the jobs were handed over to the subcontractors as part of government's privatization programme.

Limter-Is, the main union on the site, and the Shipyard Workers' Council called for an open ended national strike to stop work place deaths in the shipyards due to the lack of safety equipment and reckless and arrogant disregard to safety regulations which is shown by the shipyard management, subcontractors and the Ministry authorities. The workers went on a two days strike action end of February after 5 deaths in that month alone. The fascist religious government and the national media remained silent on the deaths until they were confronted with further organized action, protest by the families of the deceased workers and huge national and international support. 70 workers were arrested and one worker was run over by a car belonging to one of the subcontractors in February. The police not only arrested the workers and all properties of the Limter-Is was confiscated by the police and union officials were arrested as well. The “not so media savvy” representatives of the subcontractors, who are responsible for these deaths, placed the blame on workers with idiotic conspiracy theories. The government backed right wing union appeared on the site after years of silence on the deaths to distribute membership forms and sat at the meeting with the minister and the representatives of the Association of Shipyard Subcontractors, a shady unheard group.

Workers in Turkey face tremendous pressure to make demands for basic workers' rights such as workplace safety, job security and better pay for a minimum standard of living. They face arrests, lock-outs and losing their jobs. The shipyard workers are taking this action to stop deaths face death themselves. Two officials and activist of the Turkish Syndicate of Transport workers TÜMTIS, were among the hundreds who were arrested during the May Day celebration this year in Istanbul.

For messages of support and solidarity, fundraising events for the families of the killed workers and the workers who are going on strike on the 16th of June contact
and (The Council).
Please spread the word.
The author of this piece will be happy to translate messages for the workers
(max. 200 words please, she is swamped!)

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