Joint Statement of BWI affiliates in Turkey on Workers’ Memorial Day “Unions Make Work Safer”

28 April 2018, Ankara

Joint Statement of BWI Affiliates in Turkey On World Day for Safety and Health at Work “Unions Make Work Safer”

Dear Colleagues,

Today on April 28 which is observed as “the day to remember those who have been killed and injured at work” since 1984 and which is declared by ILO as the “World Day for Safety and Health at Work” in 2001, we commemorate workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illness due to workplace related hazards and incidents, we call public attention at national and international level to the death of workers and we advocate healthy, safe and decent jobs for the remaining who work for their bread.

Making studies to solve OHS relating problems, to develop health and safety measures in order to prevent worker deaths, criticizing the policies and practices, demanding the right to health and safety are among the mains tasks of our unions. While we as the unions contribute effectively to the field of OHS, we strongly remind the social partners about their duties and responsibilities, we demand what needs to be done in this area and we inform the public:

  •  As is also understood from ILO Safety Report, accidents at work and occupational diseases are not a “fate”. In order not to lead to new deaths, the mentality on occupational health and safety should be changed and the principle of “human first, workers’ safety first” should be adopted.
  • In order to ensure that the legislation of occupational health and safety is fully respected and the legal basis is fully achieved, national legislation should be introduced in accordance with the spirit of the ILO Conventions relating to this field.
  • All barriers to unionization and right to organize should be removed.
  • The subcontracting should be terminated.
  • The OHS Committees established in the workplaces should be organized as democratic structures and should be equipped with sanction power.
  • The number of labor inspectors should be increased and workplace inspections should be effective.
  • The OHS officials and occupational physicians should perform their duties in an ethical frame and with professional independence.
  • Efforts should be made to establish safety awareness and security culture in every part of the society.
  • The number of hospitals or clinics on occupational diseases should be increased; studies for the detection of occupational diseases should be made.
  • The objectives in the Policy Paper 2014 – 2018, adopted at the National Occupational Health and Safety Council, should be reached.
  • Given the fact that job security and occupational health and safety are complement to each other, all employees should be covered by the social security umbrella. Uninsured and nonunion employment should be prevented; informal economy should be taken under record.
  • Measures to be taken with regard to the OHS are not an additional cost but should be considered as applications that reduce accidents, prevent deaths, raise productivity and increase the competitiveness of products.
  • Today, in more than 30 countries, “April 28” was adopted as an official day of remembrance and mourning. Also in many countries, campaigns are being held to that end. We, as the affiliates of BWI from Turkey, demand April 28 to be officially recognized and announced as the day of mourning and remembrance of workers who lost their lives due to accidents or occupational diseases.

As YOL-İŞi, AĞAÇ-İŞii, ORMAN-İŞiii and TARIM ORMAN-İŞiv, the affiliates of Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) from Turkey, we publicly announce with the responsibility and consciousness of representing tens of thousands of workers that we are ready to contribute to the healing work in the field of occupational health and safety which is a problematic area in our country and we will continue our struggle against workers’ deaths.

In solidarity,
Ramazan Ağar, President, YOL-İŞ
Mürsel Taşçı,  President, AĞAÇ-İŞ
Baki Yüksel, President, ORMAN-İŞ
Şükrü Durmuş, President, TARIM ORMAN-İŞ

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