Seasonal farm laborers have increasingly been the victims of sometimes fatal work-related accidents in Turkey according to Ömer Fethi Gürer, a deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Duvar news website reported.
According to Gürer a large number of farm laborers are injured or killed in traffic accidents while on the way to work. “Farm laborers should not fall victim to traffic accidents in vehicles that are not appropriate for carrying groups of people over long distances,” he said.
Gürer added that 40 laborers died and at least 108 were injured in traffic accidents in the first half of the year. In most of these accidents the workers were traveling on tractors or in crowded vans.
“There are nearly 1 million farm laborers in Turkey, and most of them work under difficult conditions,” he said. “It the responsibility of authorities to take precautions against accidents and improve their working conditions.”
In addition to traffic accidents farm laborers are made to live in poor conditions, have no social security or insurance and cannot access proper health care. In many cases, children of farm laborers cannot go to school because they move around a lot.
Gürer urged authorities to ensure laborers and their families live in decent conditions with proper health care and education.
According to a recent report published by the Workers’ Health and Work Safety Assembly (İSİG), the agriculture sector had the second highest number of occupational accidents.
People have been suffering from lax work safety standards for decades in Turkey, where workplace accidents are nearly a daily occurrence. The country was named one of the world’s 10 worst countries among 149 in total for labor rights, in a report published in July by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).