Turkey has recorded at least 364 deaths in the textile industry in the last 10 years, the Bianet news website reported, citing the Health and Safety Labor Watch (ISIG).
According to ISIG among the textile workers who lost their lives were children under the age of 14. There are currently 500,000 workers in the textile industry, with Turkey the fifth biggest producer and exporter of textiles. However, ISIG said the industry’s growth was due to cheap labor.
“Textile workers labor for long hours for very little pay, and of course this financially benefits companies who can invest in more factories,” ISIG said. “Terrible work conditions have inevitably led to the death of hundreds of textile workers.”
Most of those workers who died in work-related accidents were not members of a union.
Furthermore, most deaths were a result of traffic accidents in transportation to or from work, followed by explosions and fires.
İSİG began to record occupational fatalities in 2011. The platform also records the number of workers who died due to the lack of work safety in past years in addition to campaigning for stricter measures to maintain safety in workplaces.
People have been suffering from lax work safety standards for decades in Turkey, where workplace accidents are nearly a daily occurrence. In the worst work-related accident in the country’s history, 301 miners lost their lives in an explosion in Manisa’s Soma district in May 2014.
According to İSİG, more than 30,000 work-related accidents have taken place since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in November 2002.