This morning, an explosion at a galvanizing factory located in an organized industrial zone in Antep province left 8 workers dead, 20 wounded, while 2 workers' whereabouts are yet to be known.
"At least 2 uncontracted Syrian workers were either dead or wounded after an explosion at a galvanizing factory in Antep today. Turkey has a bad record of uncontracted employment," said Nihat Necati Bencan, a local representative from the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey.
In the afternoon, the dead of at least one Syrian workers has been confirmed by the local authorities.
The deadly incident occurred due to an explosion in one of factory's acid tanks. 13 out of 20 wounded workers have been hospitalized for urgent medical care.
Bencan said Turkey had a worldwide bad reputation in work related casualties.
"Turkey tips the work casualties list in Europe and ranks in the second place in the world," he said. "Even though the casualties could be minimized by low-budget precautions, the employers in Turkey did not allocate enough budget for the safety of workers."
"Excessive employment and lack of control mechanisms lead to work casualties," Bencan continued. "We are demanding Labor Ministry to work closely on this issue."
"Half of the workers were uncontracted"
Bencan reminded that no workers unions were officially active in the factory.
"The factory workers are utterly unprotected," Bencan said. "We don't exactly know how many people are working there. The administration refuses to disclose the exact number. We estimate around 200."
He also said hundred of Syrians who fled from the chaos in their country worked uncontracted and under poor conditions.
"Only in Antep province," Bencan said, "roughly 47 percent of all workers are uncontracted. The toll rises during summer time. However, the unionization is only 1.5 percent in private sector and 4 percent in public sector. Among 175,000 worker in the organized industry zones, only around 100,000 are contracted. Numbers speak for themselves." (EKN/BM)
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