Miners Protesting Privatization Law Draft End Lock-In Protest After 21 Hours

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Approximately 2,000 miners working in Turkey’s Hard Coal Enterprise in Zonguldak, a province in Black Sea Region of Turkey whose main economic activity is coal trade, had locked themselves in coal mines to protest the amendment in Article 58 in the mining law that would pave the way for privatizing the enterprise. The miners ended their protest after 21 hours.

In order to protest the article that as a part of an omnibus bill, was approved by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Committee on Planning and Budget last week, foresees that “Turkey’s Hard Coal Enterprise and Turkey’s Coal Enterprise are entitled to operate the mines under their responsibility, to have these operated by other parties, to split these and demand new licences as well as to put licences out to tender”.

To protest the article, the miners whose shift began at midnight, refused to leave the mine after their shift was over at 8 a.m. and that other miners from the 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. shift joined the protest.

The protest continued for 21 hours with the participation of approximately 2,000 miners, who agreed to leave the mines at around 5 a.m. this morning after speaking with the representatives from the General Mine Workers Union.

Union chair contacts Ankara

General Mine Workers Union Chair Ahmet Demirci stated that they have ended the protest after meeting with The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TÜRK-İŞ) Chair Ergün Atalay and other authorities from the Government.

Informing that the miners have left the mine, Demirci noted:

“We had some important meetings in Ankara. We tried to explain the miners’ point and their protest. We are heading towards Zonguldak to talk to the miners about the negotiations. The chair of Türk-İş will speak to the miners about the meetings”.

“The article will pass the way we demand”

General Mine Workers Union İsa Mutlu holding a statement for the miners in front of the mine said:

“According to our current agreement, the Parliament will pass the Article 58, the way we demanded, by making a new regulation that leaves the sites of Turkey’s Hard Coal Enterprise out of its scope”. That has been guaranteed before Governmental authorities”.

It is not yet known, what kind of an amending regulation will be made in the Article 58 that is expected to be submitted to the General Assembly of the Parliament for approval this week (PT/DG)

*Source: DHA / Doğan News Agency