Turkish mine workers barricade themselves in coal mine to protest conditions
ZONGULDAK – Doğan News Agency
Around 300 mine workers in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak have barricaded themselves inside a coal mine in protest at weak job safety measures and poor working conditions. DHA photo
Around 300 mine workers in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak have barricaded themselves inside a coal mine in protest at weak job safety measures and poor working conditions.
The protest, which was initiated by night shift workers at the mine, also gained wide support from day shift workers, who were supposed to start work at 8 a.m. this morning, but were unable to as their colleagues were refusing to leave the 170-meter deep pit.
The miners of the Turkish Hard Coal Authority’s (TTK) Üzülmez district directorate object to a number of practices, including poor safety conditions, the late arrival of ambulances in accident cases, and the lack of extra clothes and boots.
Mine Workers Union (GMİS) Chairman Eyüp Alabaş and GMİS Üzülmez branch head Osman Tutkun visited the workers to hear their complaints.
Speaking to press after talking with workers in the mine, Tutkun claimed the miners had been exposed to psychological pressure for a year. He said the workers “reached the end of their rope” when an ambulance arrived 35 minutes late after a worker suffered a heart attack at the facility.
“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 six months ago and mining was halted for five days. Moreover, locking the doors is cruel for the workers,” Tutkun said.
Workers supporting their colleagues’ demonstration in front of the mine also slammed the “lack of job safety measures in the mine.”
“There aren’t enough workers, our main paths [in the mine] are unsafe, and production is not efficient,” they said.
Miners have reportedly pledged to continue their protest until their demands are met.