BWI European Regional Conference Statement of Support for Workers at the Istanbul Airport

19 December 2018 08:12

In September 2018, thousands of construction workers went on strike to protest their working conditions at the construction of the Istanbul Airport.

At the time, the BWI released a statement supporting these workers. The statement was supported by other BWI affiliates in Europe. In addition, the BWI submitted a letter to the seven main contractors responsible for the construction project site as well as the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure. To date, we have received no response.

As the BWI holds its European Regional Conference in Adana, Turkey, the BWI reaffirms its support for the workers at the Istanbul Airport. Currently the airport is open; however, it is estimated that construction will continue for another five years.

The BWI reiterates the need to ensure safety and health conditions in line with international standards. This is particularly critical noting that to date officially fifty-two workers have died and hundreds more injured.

Recognizing that 22,000 of the 26,000 construction workers are employed by nearly 500 subcontractors, the BWI calls on the right of subcontract workers to organize and more importantly be covered by the current YOL-IS Collective Agreement to subcontract workers.

On 5 December, all workers who were jailed due to their participation in the protests were released at the first hearing of their trial after having been imprisoned for more than two months. The BWI reiterates its call to cease any repression against the workers as well ensure they will not be blacklisted.

The BWI will continue to monitor the situation and provide necessary and solidarity and support to ensure labour and human rights of all workers working at the Istanbul Airport construction site are respected.