The Occupational Health and Safety Council (ISIG) issued a report on occupational murders that occurred in February 2018. According to data collected by both national and local press (86%), as well as workers’ colleagues, families, occupational safety experts, occupational physicians and trade unions (14%), at least 123 workers have lost their lives due to occupational murders in Turkey in February 2018.
During this period, 24% of occupational murders took place in the construction sector; 20% of them occurred in the agriculture sector; 11% in transportation; 6% in the metal sector; 6% in trade and office sectors and 5% in leisure and hospitality sectors.
The cities with the highest rate of occupational murders in February 2018 are respectively: the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Istanbul, the southern province of Hatay, the western provinces of Aydın and Denizli, the southern province of Mersin, the northern province of Samsun, the southern province of Antalya, the western province of Izmir and the northern province of Zonguldak.
The report also shows that 4% of the workers killed in occupational murders were union members, while 96% of them were non-union.
The report also found that occupational murders in February have claimed the lives of three children in Turkey in this same period.
According to the report, 11 of the 123 workers who died in occupational murders were women, and 112 were male workers. Three refugee workers, 2 Syrians and 1 Iraqi, were killed in occupational murders.
In the eye of the law, every death that occurs in the workplace is within the scope of ‘occupational murders’ regardless of the cause. Yet, deaths based on overworking have not been adequately investigated in Turkey.
In this respect, the report prepared by ISIG indicates that at least 48 workers in 2013, at least 121 workers in 2014, at least 155 workers in 2015, at least 217 workers in 2016, and at least 183 workers in 2017 died from heart attacks or cerebral haemorrhages. It is not known whether all these deaths are due to overworking.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continuously attacks the rights of the working class through the implementation of neoliberal policies in Turkey. The weekly working hour in Turkey is on average over 50 hours, and workers are not allowed to use their right to paid leave. These attacks of the Turkish government on the working class are now increasing due to newly introduced neoliberal policies such as rental labour, private employment offices and an amendment in the law on labour courts.
The Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) announced last week that 2,006 workers lost their lives in occupational murders in 2017 in Turkey.
"In Turkey, an occupational murder happens every four hours," TMMOB Executive Board Member Cengiz Göltaş stated.