Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) is slated to open later this year. Photo: IGA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The lives of workers at Istanbul’s new airport project are at risk because of poor safety conditions, said an official from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), echoing the demands of striking workers.
“The place is so closed that no one can get information. For example, 17 workers were involved in an accident, but there is no news of them. We visited the workers… but even we were not able to get anything,” Gunay Kubilay, HDP deputy co-chair for labour, economy, and socio-political affairs, told Rudaw English on Friday.
Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) is a new international airport slated to open this year.
A group of workers on the project went on strike on Friday, chanting “Workers are not slaves” and demanding improved safety conditions.
Supporting workers’ rights is a central policy of the leftist HDP.
According to Kubilay, countrywide some “five to six workers die on a daily basis as a result of labour murder.”
The IGA project has been plagued by deaths, numbering in the hundreds according to unconfirmed reports. The Ministry of Labour, in February, stated that 27 workers had been killed on the site since May 2015.
Kubilay said a worker told the HDP delegation that employers shirk responsibility for any deaths: “They tell us, ‘I have paid money to them. They can die or live.’”
HDP supports the workers to “put pressure on the government and tell the international community about their case,” he explained.
There are 36,000 people working in the construction of the site, according to the airport.
“We undertake to prevent dangerous environments likely to cause accidents, and take measures to eliminate potential dangerous environments,” the airport states on its website, stressing its dedication to occupational health and safety.
IGA will open with three runways that can handle 90 million passengers and will compete to be the world’s largest.