The Construction Workers Union (İnşaat-İş) has claimed a nuclear power plant in the southern Turkish province of Mersin fired 30 construction workers who had volunteered to join search and rescue efforts after Turkey was struck by devastating earthquakes on February 6, Cumhuriyet daily reported.
”Thirty workers at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin who had volunteered in the earthquake-hit region were fired. They staged a demonstration in front of the power plant, while other employees stopped to work to show solidarity with them,” İnşaat-İş said on Twitter.
Deprem bölgesine gönüllü olarak giden otuz Akkuyu Nükleer Santral işçisi işten atıldı.
İşten çıkarılan işçiler, santral önünde eyleme geçti. Birçok işçi de işten çıkarılan işçilerle dayanışmak amacıyla iş bıraktı. pic.twitter.com/3x7jr70HbC
— İnşaat-İş Sendikası (@insaatsendika) February 22, 2023
İnşaat-İş also claimed that the employees were dismissed without compensation on the grounds that they had not shown up for work without providing an excuse.
However, officials at the power plant denied the reports, saying, ”Allegations published today on social media and by some media outlets that volunteers who went to the earthquake zone were fired contradict the reality.”
Many construction workers participated in numerous search and rescue efforts among other volunteer work in towns affected by the recent deadly earthquakes in southern Turkey.
Construction of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in Mersin began on May 12, 2010 following an agreement between Russia and Turkey and is expected to be completed later this year.
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep – home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria – as people were sleeping on February 6 was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.
The February 6 earthquakes and following aftershocks have killed more than 42,000 and injured more than 100,000 people in Turkey. Thousands of people are without safe drinking water and sanitation facilities such as running water and toilets in Turkish provinces hit by the quakes.