Soma miners say they were forced to attend political rallies
MANİSA – Doğan News Agency
Workers of the coal mine in Soma, where 301 workers died in an accident, have told a parliamentary panel that they were forced to go to election rallies, without giving the name of any political parties. AP Photo / Emrah GülerWorkers of the coal mine in Soma, where 301 workers died in an accident, have told a parliamentary panel that they were forced to go to election rallies, without giving the name of any political parties.
One miner in Soma, who chose to remain anonymous, told the members of a parliamentary panel who went to Soma as part of their investigation into the country’s worst ever industrial disaster that they were forced to attend a political party’s rally, but declined naming the party.
Miners said they were paid 30 Turkish Liras for attending the rallies via public transportation, while they were paid 150 if they went by car. The workers were also given lunch on the day of the rally.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Özgür Özel had said to the Parliament that the mine workers in Soma were forced to attend the rallies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) two weeks before the accident on May 13.
T.Y., one of the miners in Soma, said his monthly salary was 1,300 liras, while subcontractors were paid 30,000 liras. “We have always been exploited. We did not see any inspection in the mine. No inspection was done in the area where the coal was being extracted from the soil inside the mine [before the accident],” T.Y. told the lawmakers.
Another miner, H.E., said the workplace safety officials should receive their salaries from the state, rather than the company they are inspecting.
“The inspectors should be from these areas. They should be able to inspect the mines more often. The workplace health officials should be able to intervene when needed for the safety of the workers,” said H.E., who also added that many of the mining engineers lack experience in the mines.
“The workers and engineers need more training on accidents and how to survive during such accidents,” he added.