An incident in western Turkey on Monday 6th July has led to the death of 15 farm workers. Most of whom were women. A further two were injured in the truck accident, which has sparked demands for better workers’ rights.
According to the Associated Press, the incident occurred on Monday morning around 5am. In Manisa, western Turkey. Two trucks were involved in the crash, which took the lives of 15 seasonal workers. A truck carrying milk is thought to have crashed into the pickup truck which was carrying farm workers. Most of those killed or injured are believed to have been women. These workers were working on a local farm picking vine leaves. They then sell on these leaves for around 1.5 – 2 Turkish Liras a kg. Around $0.50. The cause is currently under investigation, however it is thought that the driver of the milk truck had fallen asleep or drunk. The driver was then sent to court on Tuesday 7th July, in order to give a statement. According to experts like a dui defense attorney, the case is being taken to the Akhisar Courthouse in Manisa, where it is thought the driver will go on trial.
Unfortunately, accidents of this kind are all too common. Not just in Turkey, but around the world. In Illinois, for example, it is thought that there were over 10,000 incidents involving trucks in 2013 alone. Visit website for more information. Trucks have the potential to be extremely dangerous, being such large vehicles. This could be why the fatality rate is so high, compared to other road traffic accidents. Truck drivers may not be experienced enough or not getting enough sleep. Especially when working to tight deadlines. Until the proper working conditions are in place, truck accidents could continue to be an enormous problem. Victims are advised to seek help from a truck accident lawyer or an 18 wheeler accident attorney if they got injured in a truck accident.
Turkish Worker’s Rights
This incident has sparked outrage with various groups in Turkey. With many demanding better rights, particularly for seasonal workers. Those who work on farms during peak season are not eligible for any accommodation and health rights. Or social insurances. The Memur-Sen Union issued a statement demanding better rights for all seasonal farm workers. Including better working conditions, upgraded vehicles and accommodation, and security amongst other things. They’re not the only group to have something to say on the matter, however. Various workers rights unions and other bodies have all used this incident to further their cause. The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions believes the truck accident is a reflection of the overall state irresponsibility in Turkey.
An entire village is currently in mourning over this tragic accident. Many of the workers killed had families in Manisa. While there are various unions and groups demanding better rights for workers, some are just asking for better roads. It is thought that the accident may have been less deadly if the quality of the roads were improved in the area. This incident may indeed push forward some changes that local villagers have been asking for.
A final statement from the Republican People’s Party has summed up the situation in western Turkey quite well. They said that if these women were not under pressure to get up at 5am to work for such little pay, they might not have got onto that truck. A truck which was not designed to carry people, but designed to carry goods.