Tens of thousands of workers have been infected and 368 have lost their lives in the eight months of the coronavirus pandemic, according the a report by the Health and Safety Labour Watch (İSİG).
İSİG stated that, although the first official infection was recorded on 11 March, effective measures were not taken. “We, who are very close to sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, housing, are the ones whose working hours were increased and who were not allowed to leave the factories. We are the ones who were overworked and lumbered with irrelevant tasks, even being taken ill. We, the working class, faced the pandemic. Moreover, workers’ demonstrations were banned and thousands of our friends were dismissed. In the last eight months, tens of thousands of workers were infected and 368 lost their lives”.
Healthcare sector suffers highest death toll
According to the report, the highest number of deaths occurred in healthcare sector, with 141 fatalities. The second highest death toll was in the trade sector, with 90 fatalities. Municipalities was third highest with by 25 deaths.
The highest number of deaths by province occurred in İstanbul (108), Ankara (25), and Diyarbakır (21).
İSİG made the following demands regarding the conditions of workers:
- Covid-19 should be defined as a professional hazard for health workers and an occupational accident for other sectors.
- Health and Safety Labour measures should be taken in the transportation, food and housing sectors, and especially in the manufacturing sector. Workers with chronic illnesses and who are over a certain age should be given leave as administrative or paid vacation.
- Disemployment should be banned and workers should receive full pay, not 1168 Turkish lira (Turkey pays 1168 TL to each worker who takes unpaid time off since the beginning of the pandemic).
- Working hours should be decreased to four or six hours without pay cut.
- Free and widespread tests should be available for workers and production should be suspended in workplaces where Covid-19 cases are soaring.
- The working hours of those who work from home should be arranged and their expenses should be paid.