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Just weeks after recognizing the annual International Day of Mourning for workers who have died on the job on April 28, the world was shocked to witness the terrible mining tragedy unfold in Soma, Turkey. CUPE mourns the loss of these workers and offers our heartfelt condolences to everyone affected.

“It is inconceivable and inexcusable that over 300 workers have lost their lives in this mining tragedy,” said Paul Moist, national president of CUPE. “We echo the cries of Turkish citizens and trade unions who have said this was no accident but rather a mass killing that could have been avoided. We stand in solidarity with the thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets to rightfully express their anger and condemnation toward the individuals and institutions which failed to ensure workers’ rights to health and safety protection was in place.”

As reports of police firing tear gas and water cannons to break up the demonstrations are being reported, we will continue to monitor this situation to ensure the citizens right to assembly and free speech is being respected.

“This is yet another tragic example of what happens when corporate profit becomes the priority over the needs of people and their communities,” said Moist. “There is growing criticism of the government’s decision to privatize the mine and the subsequent deterioration of the working conditions which ultimately led to this massive loss of life.”

CUPE members have been witnessed the negative impact of privatization, and continue to struggle to strengthen the public sector in Canada and around the world.

This tragedy will serve to strengthen our resolve to fight for the living, and to continue to act in solidarity with all workers around that world who struggle daily for justice and dignity in the workplace and for the accountability of employers, corporations and governments who deny workers of their rights.