Construction workers at Istanbul residence complex succeed in protest action
Dozens of workers had blocked a road in the Halkalı neighborhood on Sept. 8, two days after an elevator collapse killed 10 fellow workers at the construction site of a lavish new tower complex in the central area of Mecidiyeköy. AA PhotoWorkers at a construction site of a suburban residence complex on the European side of Istanbul, who recently started a protest action demanding that their working conditions be improved, have succeeded in pushing forward their requests.
Dozens of workers had blocked a road in the Halkalı neighborhood on Sept. 8, two days after an elevator collapse killed 10 fellow workers at the construction site of a lavish new tower complex in the central area of Mecidiyeköy. The workers at the Tema Park residential complex project denounced their working conditions as “inhumane,” showing how even the meals provided by the construction company contained parasites and worms.
After two days of negotiations amid a broader public outcry over construction workers’ safety and living conditions, the striking workers’ 14-point demand request conveyed through lawyers was accepted by the company.
Most importantly, the deal gives workers the right to stop their labor whenever they think a malfunction poses a threat to their lives. The constructor company has also committed to monitoring subcontractors and requesting that they do not cut expenses regarding work safety material from the wages of workers, which has reportedly been a common practice up to now. The company will also ensure that workers’ wages and social security are regularly paid, while lifts and elevators will be checked more often for safety.
The deal also includes a series of measures aimed at improving the living conditions at the workers’ living quarters, with the company vowing to improve the conditions of the dormitories and the quality of the meals. Workers will be provided with 24 hours of hot water, two computers, wardrobes and refrigerators for collective use, which had all previously been lacking.
The deaths of 10 workers after an elevator plunged from the 32nd floor on Sept. 6 caused indignation, especially after the construction company, Torunlar, refused to accept responsibility for the accident. The incident also prompted the public to question Turkey’s construction boom in recent years, particularly in Istanbul, where huge residential complex projects are spreading rapidly across the city.