15,000 construction workers laid off in the last 15 days in Istanbul

The times have changed now and together with the rest of the collapsed Turkish economy the construction sector is laying off workers. The contraction of construction sector actually started long before the coronavirus pandemic, however, the latest chaos and panic has provided a convenient cover for the bosses to lay off workers, steal their premiums and get away without any open challenge.

15,000 construction workers laid off in the last 15 days in Istanbul

Turkey’s construction sector has been in a crisis in the last few years. Once being the only sector that was growing and a very staunch supporter of the current president Erdoğan, the sector benefitted from huge government contracts whether necessary or not.

The times have changed now and together with the rest of the collapsed Turkish economy the construction sector is laying off workers. The contraction of construction sector actually started long before the coronavirus pandemic, however, the latest chaos and panic has provided a convenient cover for the bosses to lay off workers, steal their premiums and get away without any open challenge.

Using the pandemic, the workers are sent home without even receiving their lawfully gained premiums, sometimes their wages that the bosses are required to pay.

GazeteDuvar media reports that 726 workplaces saw 15,191 worker reduction in the last 15 days in Istanbul. These are the figures from only those employers employing more than 50 workers. If the smaller companies are factored in the number of laid off workers would be much higher.

The progressive “Revolutionary Construction and Road Workers’ Union” (Devrimci Yapı İş İnşaat ve Yol İşçileri Sendikası) in a statement said, “The construction workers who work side by side with death are now squeezed from the other side by the unemployment caused by the coronavirus.”

The union summarized what the workers are experiencing in the face of the latest layoffs:

    – All the workers who were let go were sent home without receiving their lawful compensations.
    – The workers who work collectively also lived collectively and ate collectively at the construction sites. They slept in construction containers with no hygiene precautions.
    – None of the workers received any coronavirus test. They were forced into buses and sent to their home towns after they were let go.
    – Many workers were simply let go and they had to find their way back to their home towns. The transportation they found had not been cleaned and were most probably contaminated.
    – Some construction sites allowed workers with high fevers to continue working among other co-workers.

The union wants all layoffs to be prevented by the government. The workers are now at their home towns, probably carrying the virus. They are left to die alone with no help. Now their families may get infected on top of being left hungry with loss of their jobs.

Sendika.org News (M.B.)