Construction workers are most exposed to coronavirus

Hundreds of thousands of construction workers are in great danger because of the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak which has affected the whole world and paralyzed life.

In Turkey's western provinces, the conditions of Kurdish labourers working in construction, textile and other sectors cause great concern.

Hundreds of companies switched to the remote work system following government's calls to "stay at home". However, Kurdish workers, struggling to earn their daily bread working for less than a minimum wage and in unsafe conditions, continue to work and are now facing the danger of coronavirus.

While many businesses closed their shutters, construction and textile sectors continue their activities. These are the sectors where hundreds of workers eat and work together. According to the Ministry of Labor in March there were 1 million 200 thousand workers employed in the construction sector.

Construction workers in Istanbul, who do not want to be named for safety reasons, say that they have been working in Istanbul away from their hometown for months.

One worker said: "If I don't work for a month, I will be hungry. Construction areas are not clean and hygienic. Coronavirus precautions are very inadequate. They only take our temperature at the construction site. They need to take more precautions and do it quickly."

A worker who went to Adapazarı in Van to work in construction said that they are working in an unhygienic environment and conditions increasing the risk of an infection.

Saying that there are no health checks and inspections in the construction site, the worker added: "I have been working in Cengiz Inşaat, which is close to the government in Adapazarı for 2 months. About 9 people work here. No health reports are requested from the workers, nor are they subjected to health screening. The space where we eat is very bad. Meals are not prepared in a hygienic environment."

The worker added: "Although the dormitories we sleep in are thought for 3 people, 10 people sleep in them. Nobody values ​​workers here. If this continues, thousands of workers in these provinces are at risk of catching the virus."

The same worker also spoke about the rights violations going on at the site: "Workers are being exploited at Cengiz Inşaat. I have been working for 2 months but I did not get my rights. At the end of 2 months they gave me a thousand liras. They also dismiss those who protested. I left work 3 days ago and I came to Adapazarı Bus Terminal. I stayed at the bus station for 2 days because intercity travel is prohibited."