‘Slavery-like conditions’ in Soma mine, employee testifies
ISTANBULStatements from a worker at the Soma coal mine, which became a death trap for 301 miners last week, have raised more questions about work conditions at the site, as even the most basic needs of employees are apparently not met during work hours.
“There are no defined breaks for meals,” said Sefa Köken during an interview on private broadcaster CNN Türk, adding that only group leaders decided when to eat and that miners had to bring their own food and water.
Köken added that no sanitary facilities were installed at mines and that every miner stayed underground for eight hours non-stop.
“God gives them strength and they have to stand such conditions. Orders, pressure and slavery is common at the mines, as well as insulting. They always want more,” he said.
Köken confirmed claims that miners were taken to local rallies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to act as supporters. “Everyone goes to work in the morning. Then they tell you to stop and go to the AKP meeting. They say you will get your salary. Everyone is forced to applaud and wave [party] flags,” he said.
Despite the fact that dealing with politics at mines was banned, posters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the local Manisa election candidate were recently hung at the mine, Köken also said.
“These people have no other profession than mining. This is why they fear … Everybody has debts,” he said.
Köken claimed that he was fired from another mine because he testified about poor conditions after a deadly accident in 2007.