Turkey: ITUC Condemns Mass Arrest of Workers on Strike

The ITUC condemns the mass arrest of workers who went on strike to protest against the unsafe and inhumane working conditions on the construction site of the third Istanbul airport.

There have been 42 deaths already at the construction site where migrant workers from countries such as Nepal are working together with thousands of Turkish workers. The labour camps where workers are housed are substandard with poor food and bedbugs in the sleeping quarters. Some of the workers have not been paid for more than six months. Instead of addressing the urgent and legitimate demands of the workers, the gendarmerie has backed the construction companies and cracked down on the protest, arresting more than 400 workers. The leader of the Confederation of Progressive Labour Unions has not been permitted to meet the workers without a special permit from the governor.

We call on the immediate and unconditional release of all protesters. The government must ensure that there is no further retaliation against workers for refusing unsafe work, which is their fundamental right.