Turkish trade union organizations recently denounced the growing use of sub-contracting following a spring mining disaster in the Zonguldak ore field, in the north of the country. The disaster left at least 28 dead.
According to the Health and Safety Department of the European Trade Union Institute, for the trade unions, this explosion – the third deadly explosion in six months – confirms not only the bad state of repair of the installations but also the poor application of safety standards by the public enterprise TTK, which manages the mine. (WCxKitz)
Given the recurrence of such incidents, the Turkish mineworkers’ union Maden-Iş has demanded the modernization of coal-mining infrastructures and the creation of an independent inspectorate, which does not exist to date. In its analysis of the accident, the union also denounces the growing use of sub-contracting in public installations.
In the Karadon mine, where the explosion occurred, the construction of new galleries was sub-contracted to a private firm, Yapitek. Like many other private companies in the mining sector, Yapitek’s risk prevention policy is reportedly minimal. The firm is allegedly hostile towards trade unions and strives to keep its workers at a distance from organizations that could give them additional information on safety matters. (WCxKitz)
The trade union condemns the use of sub-contracting, which reportedly tends to endorse the constitution of separate safety rules within a single installation depending on the employer. The miners killed were all employed by Yapitek and none was a member of a trade union.
In Turkey, the mining sector has an accident rate 2.3 times higher than the metal works sector and 3.5 times higher than construction. Between 1941 and 2003, 3,094 Turkish miners lost their lives extracting ore. (WCxKitz)
The bad state of repair of Turkish mines and the lack of investments in prevention are reportedly not new phenomena. Articles published in the scientific press in the 1990s and 2000s already identified the absence of modern equipment as one of the factors explaining the high rate of deadly accidents in mines in the Zonguldak ore field.
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