Despite the danger of disaster, there are approximately a hundred thousand workers who continue working at Furniture Production Site, where five Syrian workers were burned to death. While tens of thousands of workers are forced to work with flammable and explosive substances every day, almost all of the shops are buildings that are without work safety, even without a fire exit. This is almost like an invitation for new disasters…
On January 16th, a fire broke out on the second floor of a four-story factory building and five Syrian workers died. Five workers were rescued at the last moment after the response of fire brigade. After the fire, however eyes turned into sites, there are still a hundred thousand of workers working under the danger of fire with very low wages.
Thousands of workers go on working with flammable and explosive materials, after the fire. Almost all of the workshops they work are unprovided for work safety, even not having a fire exit. 15 thousand of workshops are in this way and it is remarkable that among these workshops, there are also workplaces built by Municipality of Altındağ. This situation unrolls that even the municipality does not follow the construction zoning law and lacks inspection.
EVERY WORKSHOP SPREADS RISK
Tradesmen at the Furniture Production Site state that “Every workshop spreads risk” and they keep on working despite the fact that they are aware of the fact that they would not be rescued in case of a fire. The tradesmen noted that the danger is decreasing in the summer but that the danger has increased in the winter time because most shops are heated by electric stoves. This may cause catastrophic new fires state the tradesmen, but adds that they are obliged to work under these conditions due to lack of investment. Most of the tradesmen say that reasons for lack of investment is “unconnectedness”. The furniture production site lies between counties of Altındağ, Mamak, Keçiören and Pursaklar and can not get “a full financial support” from these districts.
400 LIRAS PER WEEK
Tradesmen tell that between hundred thousand workers, while Turkish ones get at least minimum wage, number of foreigners had increased rapidly in recent years, that these workers were not skilled enough and foreign workers work for lower wages than the minimum. They remind us that Syrian, Iraqi and Uzbek workers mostly work in Furniture Production Site and state that these workers get maximum 400 liras per week and non of them have been informed about their legal notifications.
HEADING OUT AT UTTER DARKNESS
Nonetheless, Syrian and other foreign workers, who had lost their five friends in the fire, keep on coming to Furniture Site before sunrise, from the districts where they live. While, most of them take bus or minibuses in order to come work, there are also those who walk to workplace for miles.
Despite the lack of job safety and low wages, foreign workers state that “they had to work” and tell that they worked for lower or occasionally unpaid wages in places like “worker market” and hence there is at least “guarantee to be hired”, they continue working there.
Translation: Ekin Değirmenci