Angry miners march for jobs in Zonguldak
DHA PhotoA group of miners who were laid off at a private coal mine staged a protest in front of the governor’s office in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak on Sept. 17, chanting slogans and calling on lawmakers to support them.
The protesting group was made up of only a small portion of the hundreds of workers who lost their jobs after a new code aimed at improving safety and working conditions at coal mines across Turkey was adopted. Employers have complained that they cannot afford the new expenses introduced with the new measures.
Another 700 miners at seven mines in Kütahya have also lost their jobs, while miners in Gediz marched in the town’s main street carrying Turkish flags.
“This is a code that was prepared with our workers who lost their lives in the Soma disaster, but they should have also the considered miners in Zonguldak,” said 41 year-old Rafet Sofuoğlu, who had been working at mines in Zonguldak for 15 years.
A total of 301 coalminers were killed in a disaster in the western town of Soma on May 13, the worst mining accident in Turkey’s history, which brought the conditions at mines across Turkey under the spotlight.
The Zonguldak miners also called on locals for solidarity, saying they were not demanding jobs but rather regulations that would allow the sustainability of the business.
Job losses may climb to 4,000 in the coming weeks, as more mining companies take steps due to the new safety regulations.
“I don’t know where we will work next,” Cengiz Çiftçi, a miner for a decade before he was recently laid off, told Anadolu Agency.