You can read 9 more articles this month
THE trial of 31 trade unionists who took strike action over appalling conditions at the Istanbul third airport construction project – where at least 52 people have been killed – opens today.
The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (Disk) have called a protest in solidarity with the workers who will appear in an Istanbul court today to assert that “trade unionism is not a crime.”
Dev Yapi-is Union President Ozgur Karabulut is among those facing court on charges of terrorism after more than 500 trade unionists were detained for taking strike action at the construction project in September.
More than 2,000 workers – many of whom had not been paid for six months – walked out demanding safer working conditions and for bosses to pay their wages after an accident on a bus taking workers to the site injured 17 people.
They were angry over conditions on the site, which employs around 35,000 people, with lice-infested accommodation and maggots in food served in the workers’ canteen being reported.
However instead of listening to their demands, bosses called authorities who used water cannon and tear gas on the workers.
The following day bosses handed a list of names to the notorious Turkish gendarmes who raided the dormitories dragging 500 workers to jail on charges of terrorism.
The site has been described as a “workers’ graveyard” with new figures released on Monday showing at least 52 people have been killed on the site in the past five years.
The statistics were revealed after the Presidency Communication Centre (CIMER) responded to questions raised by Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul MP Ali Seker.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Cahit Turhan said last month that 30 workers had died on site, while the Labourers’ Health and Occupational Safety (ISIG) Assembly put the death toll at 38.
Trade unionists believe the real figure is much higher with allegations the government has paid the families of victims as much as $100,000 to remain silent.
Disk general secretary Cafer Konca said the case is against the working-class people of Turkey and the real criminals are the bosses who deny workers their basic rights.
“It is a crime to hire workers without taking occupational health and safety measures. To cover up workplace killings and to protect the perpetrators of workplace murders is a crime.
“Tax evasion is a crime. It is a crime to employ workers under slavery conditions. It is a crime to dismiss unionised workers,” he said.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.