Contractor pressuring Soma workers to remain silent.
ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- With the length of time that has passed since a tragic accident in a Soma coal mine, social awareness about the deaths of the miners has begun to wane, a sobering reality which has helped the contracting company, Soma KE[micro]mE-r yE-letmeleri, pressure the colleagues of victims to speak positively about the company during the court trial involving the accident, according to Republican People's Party (CHP) Manisa deputy EuzgE-r Euzel.
Speaking at a press conference following a hearing of the Soma case on Friday, Euzel said officials from Soma KE[micro]mE-r yE-letmeleri have threatened workers to change their testimony about the case since the issue dropped off the public's radar.
The slogans "We won't forget Soma and we won't let it be forgotten" used to be mentioned often in the press, according to Euzel, who says everything changed once the issue lost the public's attention.
"There is pressure, blackmailing, dirty relations, money, threats and a lot of stuff the company has been doing in Soma now. We have observed that they practiced extreme profiling. They kept record of those who have spoken to TV stations [on the issue], criticized mining companies, attended protests and organized sit-in protests. They are not employing those people. If someone is a witness in the case, they ask him or her to give a favorable statement and offer that person a job. If a person already works for the company, officials urge the employee to provide 'careful testimony'; doing otherwise leads to being threatened with termination. Witnesses have now begun to change their testimonies and withdraw their complaints," Euzel said.
The Soma mine explosion, the deadliest accident in modern Turkish history, killed 301 workers in May 2014 and brought unsafe working conditions into the spotlight.
The company is also allegedly working to have academics forge scientific articles to convince the public of its innocence, against allegations of the contracting company's chronic negligence prior to the accident.
Euzel also added that, according to a document he obtained, the company and the authorized workers' union agreed to give severance pay to 2,832 workers who lost their jobs after the accident, in 24 installments. While the first payment was issued to former Soma employees just before the June 7 election, Euzel said no time schedule has been made for the remaining payments. (Cihan/Today's Zaman)
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