Union leader resigns after miner’s call over Soma disaster

MANISA (CIHAN)- Hundreds of miners stormed the headquarters of the local branch of the Mine Workers’ Union in the mining town of Soma on Monday in a bid to force the union administration to step down after a deadly disaster left 301 miners dead, unleashing simmering anger among locals, miners and other workers. After clashes, union leader Tamer Kuukgencay offered his resignation to soothe anger of the crowd.

One police officer has been wounded in a clash as angry miners pushed toward the doors after days of peaceful sit-in protest morphed into open confrontation, with miners holding the union responsible for failing to make improvements in the safety conditions in mining and calling on union officials to step down.

Among others, better payment and social insurance are the main components of miners’ demands as Turkey is revisiting the elusive issue of the regulation of its mining sector, with an infuriated public stepping up pressure on the government to do more inspection, to sign the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention and to improve safety conditions in line with international standards.

After days of small protests, miners on Monday moved toward the union building. Police, as has become typical, intervened to disperse the crowd. One officer was injured in the quarrel. (TZCihan)


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