·  Letter of Solidarity

Steelworkers Express Sorrow, Offer Solidarity to Turkish Miners

USW letter of sorrow and solidarity to Mr. Nurettin Akçul, General President of the Mineworkers' Union of Turkey (Maden-Is)

We are writing to express our deep sorrow to you and the families of the victims of this recent coal mining disaster in Turkey. We also join you in expressing our outrage over the conditions that led to this tragedy.

We remember well the comments made by your Prime Minister after another coal mine tragedy struck, that somehow these accidents are inevitable. Given this view by the leader of your government, it is no surprise that another and far more serious disaster has occurred. We reject this view and know that this and other tragedies can be prevented. To call this an accident is a lie since it was completely expected following the privatization and lax safety enforcement of the mining industry in your country.

We are also in complete support of your solidarity strike. Please inform us what we can do to assist you and your families in this time of need.

We share your struggle against the cold and callous governments and employers who refuse to protect workers on the job. In Canada, we have been struggling for over 20 years to force the government to hold corporate officials criminally responsible for killing workers. The law, known as the Westray Bill, was initiated by the USW and enacted by our government in 1992 after 26 miners were killed in a coal mine explosion clearly caused by criminal negligence. While over a thousand workers are killed each year in Canada, to date not a single employer has been prosecuted or gone to jail. However, we know that this struggle must be waged, just as your struggle to stop the horrendous killing in the coal fields of Turkey must also be waged.

We hope that those responsible for the killing in Turkey will be held responsible for their actions.

Our government, like yours, continues to oppose to ratification of ILO 176 on Health and Safety in Mines.

Please give the condolences of our 250,000 members and retirees in Canada to our union sisters and brothers in Turkey and to the families of the deceased miners. We are all one in this time of need.

In sorrow and solidarity,

Ken Neumann
USW National Director for Canada

14 May 2014 IndustriALL Rising Death Toll Turns Mine Accident in Turkey to Carnage

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