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NUM mourns the death of 232 mineworkers in Western Turkey.

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Press Statement: 14 May 2014

The National Union of Mineworkers  (NUM) is extremely saddened and shocked by the death of 232 Mineworkers outside a coal mine in Western Turkey. 

The fate of more than 100 miners remained unclear in one of Turkey's worst mining disasters.

Turkey rescue workers earlier removed a steady stream of bodies from an underground explosion that killed at least 232 workers.

"We pray for those workers who are still trapped underground to come out healthy and alive. We appeal to  the rescue teams to do their best to fast track the operation of searching those who are still trapped underground," said NUM General Secretary Frans Baleni.

"This tragedy must rank as the worst mining tragedy in recent memory, and is made all the more tragic by the seemingly uncaring attitude of the government and mining companies. This attitude is unacceptable and must come to an end. It is intolerable that mine workers in Turkey are denied their basic human right to work in an environment that guarantees their safety, and that instead they are expected to go to work to die.

"The number of mineworkers involved in the fatal accident is mind-boggling and staggering. We call upon the private company operating the mine and the government of Turkey to ensure that as many miners as possible of the 400 still remaining in the mine pit be rescued.

"As a matter of urgency, IndustriALL Global Union calls upon the Turkish government to immediately ratify and implement ILO’s Convention 176 on Safety and Health in Mines to save the lives of mine workers. The “killing” must stop. IndustriALL Global Union will do everything in their power to ensure that the Turkish government act responsibly and ratify Convention 176. We once again call upon the political authorities to take the lives of mineworkers seriously and to place it above," said Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL Global Union’s assistant general secretary. 

 IndustriALL Global Union is a global union federation, founded in Copenhagen on 19 June 2012. In 2012 IndustriALL Global Union represented more than 50 million working people of 140 countries working in different sectors.

 NUM is an affiliate of the  of the IndustriALL Global Union and NUM President Senzeni Zokwana was elected as one of the vice presidents in 2012.

Lastly, We send our deepest condolences to the families of the deceased,  trapped and injured mineworkers.

For more information, Please contact:

Livhuwani Mammburu: 083 809 3257 (Acting  NUM National Spokesperson)
Frans Baleni: 082 375 6443 (NUM General Secretary)

National Union of Mineworkers

Twitter: @Num_Media

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