Turkish Govt Moves to Boost Security, Working Conditions in Mines
The Turkish government, which has been the subject of harsh criticism after the recent Soma coal mine disaster, has submitted a bill to improve working conditions for miners.
The bill, initiated by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), reduces working hours per week from 48 to 30, stipulates a substantial pay rise and a reduction in the retirement age from 55 to 50 years, according to sources close to the matter, as cited by local news agencies.
The bill obliges mining companies to boost security measures and to take care of the omissions highlighted by the May 13 mine disaster in western Turkey.
The mines will be required to have rescue chambers and miners will be given gas masks to protect themselves from poisonous gases.
Although Turkish mine operator Soma Holding has rejected accusations of neglecting safety rules to boost profits, eight officials of the company have been arrested and charged with manslaughter.
On May 13, an explosion caused a fire underground, killing 301 people in the Soma coal mine in Western Turkey.
The worst mining accident in the Turkish history triggered a wave of protests, some of which turned violent.
The Soma coal mine disaster sparked anger against the mine owner and against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who downplayed the severity of the accident.