Miners in central Anatolian province on strike after not being paid for 13 months
A group of miners in Karaman's Ermenek town have been on strike for over a week after not receiving their salaries for 13 moths. The long period without pay has caused serious financial and emotional strain on the miners. "Our children are miserable, and they have gone hungry. We are living on my 65-year-old mother's pension,” miner Salim Dingil told Gazete Duvar.
Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR
A large group of miners working at a mine in the town of Ermenek in the central Anatolian province of Karaman have been on strike for over a week after not receiving their salaries for 13 moths.
Initially, 80 miners staged a demonstration to demand their wages, and another 60 miners from a subsidiary of the same company who were not paid for seven months followed in nine days later.
One of the Ermenek miners, Abdullah Büber, said that their daily shifts had eventually increased from 6.5 to 8 hours a day.
“This is bread money so we accepted it. Then we looked and saw that we were not getting paid. In January, 45 of the 80 miners started a protest. These workers were fired and given severance pay. When we too were unable to find a solution, we began to demonstrate,” Büber said.
The long period without pay has caused serious financial and emotional strain on the miners.
“We have been deprived of our rights for months. We have no social rights whatsoever. Think about it, you are providing your labor but you cannot get what you are owed in return. You cease to become human, as you cannot live like a human. We have no social activities at all. Our children are miserable, and they have gone hungry. We are living on my 65-year-old mother's pension,” said miner Salim Dingil.
Independent Miners Labor Union Tahir Çetin said that the union has also been in negotiations with the authorities to ensure that unpaid miners in the northwestern province of Çanakkale get their wages. District officials have said that the miners will be paid by Sept. 15, and Çetin said that if they do not receive their salaries by then, the workers would stage a protest.
Meanwhile, in the mines of Ermenek, workers in two mines carry on with their strikes.
“There are many mines in Ermenek. A person named Hatem Özbey owns the Cenne mine. This is a specially licensed region. The workers keep having their salaries and severance pay stripped away from them. There is a system in these mining companies that strips away the rights of workers,” Çetin said.