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Calls on Turkish government to take swift action again...

International guests together with IF Metall call on Turkish government to take swift action against tragic fatal mine accidents

19 May 2014

IF Metall and more than 40 international guests, from 19 countries worldwide, gathered at the IF Metall Congress in Stockholm, call on the government of Turkey to act immediately to avoid any new preventable accidents in mines and, as a first step, to ratify ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines.

We wish to extend the collective condolences to your country, particularly to the families of the hundreds of deceased mine workers and their colleagues over the tragic fatal accident, which happened in Soma, Manisa on 13 May 2014.

This tragedy must rank as the worst mining tragedy in recent memory, and is made all the more tragic by the seemingly uncaring attitude of the government and mining companies. This attitude is unacceptable and must come to an end. It is intolerable that mine workers in Turkey are denied their basic human right to work in an environment that guarantees their safety, and that instead they are expected to go to work to die.

The number of mineworkers involved in the fatal accident is mind-boggling and staggering. We call upon you and your government to ensure that as many miners as possible of the hundreds still remaining in the mine pit be rescued. Turkey has possibly the worst safety record in terms of mining accidents and explosions in Europe and the third worst one in the world. Turkey does not deserve such shameful record.

It is obvious that your government has a huge responsibility in such fatal accidents. When governments fail to protect their citizens, it is not merely irresponsible behaviour; it is a breach of one of the most fundamental duties entrusted to any government. Turkey aspires to greatness, and it can achieve it; but not at the cost of workers' lives.

The government of Turkey must act now and ratify ILO Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines, and its accompanying Recommendation 183. This should be the first step in establishing a credible and effective legislative and regulatory framework on safe and healthy mines. In doing so now, you would pay a fitting tribute to those workers, who lost their lives while only trying to earn a living.

We anticipate your swift action.

Anders Ferbe, IF Metall                                         Sweden Jyrki Raina, industriALL Global
Ulrich Eckelman, industriALL Europé                     Michael Vassiliadis, IG BCE, Germany
Jens Bundvad, Nordic IN                                        Russ Collison, AWU Australia
Peter Schissler, PRO-GE, Austria                          Gennadi Fedynich, REP, Belarus
Leonid Shukin, REP, Belarus                                 Caroline Petitjean, ABVV Metaal, Belgium
Marc De Wilde, Metea, Belgium                             Paulo Cayres, CNM-CUT, Brazil
Marcelle Cardoso, CNM-CUT, Brazil                       Dana Sakarova, OS Kovo, Czech rep.
Jiri Marek, OS Kovo, Czech rep.                             Mads Andersen, 3F, Denmark
Claus Jensen, Dansk Metall, Denmark                   Arne Sörensen, CO-indsutri, Denmark
Riku Aalto, Metalliliitto, Finland                               Jari Hakkarainen, Metalliliitto, Finland
Stephane Lovisa, CGT, France                              Blandine Landas, FGMM-CFDT, France
Michael Wolters. IG BCE, Germany                        Stephanie Albrecht, IG BCE, Germany
Arve Bakke, Fellesforbundet, Norway                     Atle Höie, Fellesforbundet, Norway
Leif Sande, IndustriEnergi, Norway                         Anna Kostyakova, MMW, Russia
Svetlana Boeva, , MMW, Russia                             Alexander Sitnov, RCWU, Russia
Andrey Kovalenko, RCWU, Russia                         Monika Hrusecka, OZ Kovo, Slovakia
Piet Matosa, Num, South Africa                              Mike Fafuli, Num, South Africa
Carlos Romero, MCA-UGT, Spain                          Javier Urbina, MCA-UGT, Spain
Juan Blanco Blanco, CC.OO, Spain                       Renzo Ambrosetti, Unia, Switzerland
Tony Burke, Unite, UK                                            Owen Herrnstadt, IAMAW, US
Gary Speth, UAW, US                                             Dave Perkins, UAW, US
Andrew Nditshe Chirwa, Numsa, South Africa         Skhumbuzo Phakathi, Numsa, South Africa