820 workers killed by accidents in six months, says union head

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Some 820 people were killed in work accidents only in the last six months, a senior trade union representative said, recalling that poor working conditions of coal mine workers in Soma were the main reason of massive casualty on May 13 accident that killed 301 people.

“820 workers were killed in accidents only in the last six months. In our talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, we have proposed to shut down all mines for three months so that all security precautions, including rescue chambers, could be taken. After that we’ll re-open them,” Kani Beko, head of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK) said at the opening ceremony of Miners’ Monument on June 19. Beko said 301 workers were killed because of poor working conditions and outdated equipment.

Beko’s statement came at the ceremony of the opening of the monument that was renovated by Ankara’s Çankaya municipality, after one month of tragic Soma coal mine accident that killed 301 workers.

“We renovated this monument, which was erected here in 1991, in order to not forget the pain we have suffered after the deaths of the 301 workers in Soma,” Çankaya Mayor Alper Taşdelen said at the ceremony on June 19.

He recalled that the monument symbolized the struggle of mine workers, and was erected after a huge demonstration in the name of better working conditions in 1991 was prevented by the government of the time. “Today we have merged the struggle of the past with the pain of today,” Taşdelen added.

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