Workers from Turkey’s Northern Marmara Highway project announced their demands, including the payment of their wages that they could not receive for three months amidst insecure working and inhumane housing conditions.
Talking to "We will breathe down the bosses' necks", a solidarity, communication and struggle network led by the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) against the economic crisis and its profiteers, the workers said that they were rushed to finish the highway project until the end of the year although it was impossible.
The workers have been working for the Northern Marmara Highway project, a toll motorway route to bypass İstanbul, the biggest city in the country, to the north of the famous metropolitan. “The concrete was poured in rainy weather. They said they wanted to rush the concrete. They just waited for 2 days even though they had waited for 3-4 days in summer,” the workers said, noting that security measures were completely ruled out.
WORKERS FORCED TO WORK WITHOUT SAFETY BELTS
On November 29, three workers had died after a concrete block had collapsed during the construction of a bridge in Turkey’s Kocaeli province, where a viaduct had been under construction for the Northern Marmara Highway project. However, the workers told soL that prior to the recent murderous viaduct disaster, some of their co-workers had also been exposed to various injurious work-related accidents, including electric shocks, crane crashes and falling down.
Underlining that they had never seen any occupational safety experts before the recent murderous accident at the viaduct construction site, they said that they were forced to work with outworn safety belts or life-safety-ropes, and they were carried from their dormitories to the construction site by unsafe, unchecked and improper vehicles.
They said that their housing conditions were also very poor, and they had to use old and unhealthy beds and they were offered poor quality food service. They also underlined that their insurance premiums were paid lower than the required wages, adding that they could not receive their salaries for the last three months.
“ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
The workers from the Northern Marmara Highway construction project released a statement regarding their working conditions and their immediate demands. Indicating to the contractors of the big project, such pro-government companies as Cengiz-Limak-Kalyon, the workers said that they were doomed to die due to work-related disasters while the bosses were awarded richness. “The bosses’ hunger for profit was the biggest reason behind the work-related disaster in which our three fellows died while one was severely injured,” they said.
The highway workers asked for the revelation of the negligent and responsible people for the work-related deaths, and called for the immediate payment of their wages that they could not receive for the last three months. They also called on the employers to stop the compulsory documents urging the employees to sign in order not to voice any work-related rights following the employment date.
The workers also demanded a stable medical team and an ambulance at the construction site, ensuring the proper technical controls of the vehicles used at the site. They also demanded humane housing conditions and food services.
The workers from the Northern Marmara Highway project called on all the workers to get organized around the TKP-led network of "We will breathe down the bosses' necks" in order to raise their voice against the bosses.