As the discussions on the city hospitals launched by Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as part of an attempt to transform the health system continue, serious occupational problems in the construction sites of these giant hospitals have now begun to come to the fore
Ankara Etlik City Hospital construction workers, which was constructed by a group named ‘‘Türkerler-Astaldi’’, have been dismissed last month after they could not get their salary for months.
300 workers, who were unlawfully dismissed without any rights and payment, had been promised by the employers of the city hospital that the payments would be made soon and that they could continue to stay at the construction site.
Remzi Sayar, one of the workers speaking to soL news regarding the issue, said: ‘‘Most of the workers during this process had to leave their jobs due to their children and families. Employers had promised to pay our salaries. We, about 25 workers, have continued to stay on the construction site here. Yet, first, they [employers] stopped giving food to us. Then, today they feigned an excuse and threw us out and prevented us from entering the construction site again by using security officers.’’
Stating that the employers decided to dismiss the workers after the catering company working with the city hospital demanded money for the food given them, Sayar noted, ‘‘We are the workers who could not get their salaries for months. Some of us have not been paid for 7 months; some of us could not get their salaries for 5 months…We are waiting here for 25 days to get our salaries. They are trying to stall us every day, wasting our time. Now they are saying ‘Go away! We will pay later!’ ’’.
Noting that there are also 50-60 years workers among them and everyone came from different provinces of Turkey to work at the construction of the city hospital in Ankara, Sayar said: ‘‘We want to receive a recompense for our work. We are in dire straits. They told us that they could not pay our salaries due to the financial crisis, but we [as workers] are in a more serious crisis.’’
Sayar also added that the police could attack the workers if they try to enter the construction site.
At the same hospital construction site, workers in August had previously protested the poor working conditions including housing and catering conditions.
Workers working in different projects across the country ─ including the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s third airport project in Istanbul ─ cannot get their salaries because of the employers’ excuse for the current financial crisis in Turkey, while the working conditions for workers began to be much poorer every passing day. This situation manifests itself mostly in the construction sector.