A yearbook with a warning: Workplace Murders Almanac

A yearbook with a warning: Workplace Murders Almanac

There’s an almanac on my desk that makes me ponder and very sad every year. It is an inventory that generates pain. It is the list of those who have lost their lives on the job over the past year.

It is the list of workers who have died and left their loved ones in pain. How they have died and the inadequacy of the measures taken to prevent these deaths are listed in the almanac. There are mothers, fathers, spouses, brothers and sisters and children of the deceased, all in tears. 

The almanac I was reading is the “İş Cinayetleri Almanağı 2016” (Workplace Murders Almanac 2016).
There is a dedication at the beginning of the book: “This is dedicated to the workers who lost their lives at workplace murders, to lawyer Kamil Kirman who died in 2009, who was one of the lawyers in the Davutpaşa case where an explosion killed 21 workers and injured 117, and to the designer of our almanac, our brother at the Support Group for Those In Search of Justice, Mahir Sezer, to the veterans among the workers’ families fighting for justice…”  

In their preface, the “Adalet Arayana Destek Grubu” (The Support Group for Those In Search of Justice) say they wish such almanacs never existed: “Unfortunately, this year you again have the new Workplace Murders Almanac in front of you. We wish there were no murder-like deaths in workplaces in Turkey; we wish, in turn, that we were not preparing an almanac, but our wishes are not coming true.”

The cover has a photograph from the construction sector, the one that has the highest number of deaths. 
 A word from the families reflects the insensitivity: “We are the families and friends of workers who have lost their lives in workplace murder-like deaths and who are searching for justice. Unless it happens to you or unless the ember falls right into the center of your house, one is unfortunately not aware of the fact that dozens of workers lose their lives every day in our country.” 

The quotation ends with the signature: Workers’ Families In Search of Justice.  

In the almanac, all of the workplace murders are separated into months. They have daily statistics and information. The work-related deaths have been monitored day by day; they have collected news reports and photographs.  

At the beginning of each month’s chapter, we learn the number of workers who have lost their lives that month. The list starts with women, followed by men, minors and immigrants/refugees. 

The sectors are construction, metal, transportation, commerce, agriculture and defense/security. 

At the bottom of the page, a map of the city shows where the deaths occurred, with the one explained on that page on top.  

The name of the chapters are as follows: 2016 Workplace Murders Report; What Should Be Done at an “Occupational Accident?” File on Occupational Illness; Segments from the Struggle for Justice for Families; Duty for Conscience and Justice; Dental Technicians with Occupational Illnesses Relate Experiences; Workers who are Fighting Relate Experiences; Child Labor Dossier; Syrian Refugee Workers Relate Experiences; Construction Crimes; 2016 Almanac Summary in English, as well as Workplace Murders through Drawings.
The titles of chapters make it possible for us to understand what is happening on the job and the situation of workers from all aspects. This almanac is not one that only has to be read by workers and trade unions, but also employers and authorities. It is a book that reminds everyone what has to be done to avoid repeating mistakes, as well as noting where the mistakes are. 

It is the most effective map of life and death in Turkey. Don’t be indifferent. 

1Umut Publications, Phone: (+90 212) 210 27 22, www.iscinayetleriniunutma.org, iscinayetleri@gmail.com