World Economy

More Turkish Mines Shut Down 

More Turkish Mines Shut Down More Turkish Mines Shut Down 

An omnibus bill passed in parliament last week has caused more than 36 mine owners to close down their sites across Turkey and their workers to lose their jobs due to amendments in the bill regulating work hours and wages, increasing production costs, with a miners union saying that the number of closing sites may increase.

The amendments recently made to the labor law to improve the working conditions of miners have resulted in new burdens for the workers. Following a mine explosion in Soma, a town in Manisa province, in May of this year, job safety regulations and working conditions in many workplaces were questioned by the public, Sunday's Zaman reported Sunday.

A large number of motions were submitted to the parliamentary agenda seeking to regulate working conditions in Turkey. However, the recent omnibus bill, which included the labor law amendments, has disappointed the primary target population: the mine workers. Due to the lack of consideration for the impact on the employer in the bill, more than 36 mine operators have closed down their sites since the bill came into force because operating costs have increased.


Mining Sector Heads Council Union (MSBK) President Ismet Kasapoglu shared his concerns for the future of the mining industry. He said the number of mining sites that have to stop operation is likely to increase.

According to the Dunya daily, 22 mine sites in Zonguldak province, nine in Karaman and seven in Kutahya have shut down, leaving more than 5,000 mine workers jobless.

Some sites in the province of Corum are also reportedly experiencing financial difficulties. The number of mine owners who have closed down their sites has surpassed 36, while those who have not shut their sites down have preferred either to decrease their number of workers and bear the burden of increasing costs or allow workers to take unpaid leaves of absence.

According to the mine owners, operation costs doubled after the bill and work hours are now limited to six hours a day when they had previously been eight.


Anger Rises


Speaking to Dunya, Turkish Miners Union (TMD) President Atilgan Sokmen said the mining industry in Turkey has been given new obligations and is waiting for extra facilities. Sokmen said the latest amendments that were rushed through in the omnibus bill have just brought new burdens to the sector.

Commenting on the economic problems of the sector, Sokmen said sector prices are determined by the government, preventing free market economy. Sokmen lamented the drop in the sector's export performance and said that the new burdens have made production "uneconomic."

The head of the General Mine Workers' Union (GM?S), Eyup Alabas, noted that though the amendment mandating that workers' wages cannot be less than double the minimum wage was meant to serve the miners, it has actually caused many of them to lose their jobs.

The MSBK's Kasapoglu said more mines might close and lamented the government's lack of attention to the employer's side of the issue. Sharing his doubts about whether import lobbies were involved in the bill or not, he underlined that the amendments should have been made with consideration for each type of mining site.