Social Dialogue matters
Turkey has drawn international attention recently with some deadly work related accidents. In May 2014 there was the SOMA mine disaster that caused the death of 301 mine workers. This tragedy was followed by the Ermenek mine accident and in Istanbul 10 construction workers died in an elevator accident. These accidents are not exceptions. Work related accidents are very common in Turkey (more information here).
In response to these accidents, the government has stepped up its efforts to increase workers’ safety. One part of these policy initiatives concerns the ratification of two ILO conventions on workers’ safety in the construction (No 167) and mining (No 176) industry.
Convention 176 on safety in the mining industry includes stipulations on safety inspections, accident reporting and the training of workers. It also provides some individual rights to workers. Based on this convention workers have the right to remove themselves from danger and to notify authorities of unsafe working conditions. The convention also stipulates some guidelines for the workers’ representatives and their “right to genuine consultation on and participation in the preparation and implementation of safety and health measures concerning the hazards and risks they face in the mining industry” (link).
Convention 167 on workers’ safety in the construction sector includes some stipulations on the use of, for example, lifting devices. But the more importantly, it provides the employees the individual right to retreat from work contexts that are unsafe.
Although the ratifications of these conventions is an important step for workers’ safety in Turkey, the actual impact on the field is . The ILO conventions provide guidelines and give employees some tools to push the issue to the agenda, yet to really affect the work on the field national legislation and enforcement is required.
Publication date: December 12, 2014