401 workers detained at new Istanbul airport protests: Istanbul governor

401 workers detained at new Istanbul airport protests: Istanbul governor

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
401 workers detained at new Istanbul airport protests: Istanbul governor

Most workers detained on Sept. 14 have been released after protests over labor conditions at the construction of Istanbul’s new airport, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin said on Sept. 16. 

Some 275 of the 401 workers were released, he said, while claiming those detained included “outsiders, who are not workers, and arrived at the scene for ‘provocative actions.’”

The governor said the detainees who did not commit any offense will be released after prosecutors finalize the necessary processes.

Last week, hundreds of workers walked off their jobs to protest what they called “awful” labor conditions. Security forces intervened, firing tear gas to disperse the protesting workers.

“Workers put forward some demands following the problems related to delayed shuttle bus services. Upon the disturbance, officials including the gendarmerie commander of the province arrived at the scene to coordinate the efforts. They spoke both with the workers and the company officials,” Şahin said.

According to the governor, workers returned to work on Sept. 15.

“The employee has already started to take action to resolve the problems that the workers raised. The company is also working to meet the workers’ demands,” Şahin also said.

Şahin claimed there were no disputes at the construction site anymore.

The labor union Dev Yapı-İş had initially claimed that around 500 workers were detained but 167 of them were later released.

The striking workers issued a list of basic demands, including improved safety measures, more shuttle buses and better living conditions.

They also demanded the striking workers not to be dismissed from their jobs and delayed wages be paid.

In the list, the workers also complained about the container homes at the site where they sleep and of bed bugs, which they say infest their beds.

A statement issued by İGA, the company founded to build Istanbul’s third airport, said the workers were “aggrieved” because they had to wait under the rain on the morning of Sept. 14 as their shuttles arrived late to take them to the construction site.

In February, the Labor Ministry said 27 workers had died on the construction site since 2015, when works began there.