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Protesting construction workers attacked in Turkey

17 workers were injured as they walked off a job in anger at poor conditions at Istanbul airport

CONSTRUCTION workers in Turkey were attacked with tear gas today as they walked off a major Istanbul airport project in protest at poor working conditions after 17 workers were injured in an accident earlier this week.

Builders took action after failing to reach an agreement with IGA Airport bosses. The workers presented 15 demands including protection for strikers.

Management appealed to the workers, saying their voices had been heard but the issues would take time to resolve.

However, a statement from their union said that the delegation was rebuffed after presenting demands to bosses who “did not say anything concrete beyond exhibiting the usual attitude.”

It said that because of bosses’ failure to deal with safety concerns relating to the deaths and workplace accidents at the airport construction site, the workers had no option but to strike.

Action at the site started following an accident on Wednesday in which two construction workers were killed after they fell off the roof while working in bad weather conditions without adequate safety equipment. 

A further 17 people were injured while being transported to the site however bosses called the authorities when the workers protested – with water cannons and tear gas fired at those taking action.

Many of the workers are subcontractors who have gone up to six months without pay because construction companies have gone bust in Turkey’s economic crisis.

Working conditions on the site are poor and the union warned the company that health and safety equipment is not being provided to the workers.

People’s Republican Party (CHP) deputy Veli Agbaba warned the airport was “a centre of workplace killings,” accusing the government of exploiting workers and cutting costs through awarding contracts on the cheap

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