1,803 agricultural workers died in occupational homicides in 10 years

At least 1,803 agricultural workers have been victims of occupational homicides in Turkey during the past 10 years.

The Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG) published a report detailing the record of work-related fatalities in the agricultural sector over the past decade.

According to the report, at least 1,803 agricultural workers have lost their lives in work-related accidents in Turkey since 2013. The victims include 235 children, 254 refugees/migrants, 346 women and 1,457 men. Of these, 101 were under 14 years old, and 134 were between 15 and 17 years old. Additionally, 363 workers were between 50 and 64 years old, and 104 were 65 years old or older.

A total of 254 workers were migrants or refugees, with 130 coming from Syria, 84 from Afghanistan, and others from various countries such as Georgia, Turkmenistan, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, and Tajikistan.

On the other hand, the mortality rate for women workers in the sector, it said, is approximately three times higher than the overall average for work-related fatalities.

The report pointed out that women seasonal agricultural workers constitute nearly half of total employment in seasonal agriculture and receive lower wages than their male counterparts despite working the same or even longer hours.

The report revealed that 122 workers died in 2013; 140 in 2014; 202 in 2015; 177 in 2016; 154 in 2017; 184 in 2018; 190 in 2019; 215 in 2020; 149 in 2021; 180 in 2022 and 90 in the first 8 months of 2023.

Only 15 of the deceased workers (0.83%) were union members, while 1,788 (99.17%) were not affiliated with any trade union. İSİG noted that, according to the July 2023 statistics released by the Ministry of Labor, there are 192,000 workers in the agricultural sector, with 28% of them being union members. However, the actual number of uninsured workers is significantly higher than official figures suggest, and the majority of unionized workers are employed continuously in forestry.