Deaths and precarious work in Turkey’s forestry
Work-related fatalities and precarious working conditions plague Turkey’s forestry sector.
This was according to the BWI-affiliated Civil Servants Union of Agriculture, Forestry, Husbandry and Environment of Turkey (TARIM ORMAN-IS) after it concluded monitoring forest areas in Canakkale, Aladag and Adana, which have all been certified under the FSC standards and are managed by the General Directorate of Forestry.
The union said that its inspectors were able to collect data and other relevant information pointing to the rising number of worker fatalities and unmitigated precarious working conditions in the forestry industry since 2020. Citing a report from the Civil network of Health and Safety Watch (ISIG), TARIM ORMAN said that 2,427 Turkish forest and agricultural workers lost their lives in 2020. It said that the staggering number of deaths makes the forestry and agriculture sectors some of deadliest places for Turkish workers to work at.
The union also monitored forest management practices and compliance to widely-recognised environmental protocols. In particular, it monitored harmful activities to the environment and natural resources in Canakkale’s mining projects.
These findings led TARIM ORMAN to submit multi-stakeholder reports to the SGS in Turkey to enforce health and safety standards at forest workplaces to ensure safe working conditions and good practices in forest management. It also held several trainings on FSC standards and certification systems to capacitate Turkish forest workers in monitoring and reporting labour and environmental violations in the forestry sector.
Turkey's forests are mainly state-owned, with forests covering 27.6 percent of the country's land area. TARIM ORMAN-IS has been monitoring this vast area since 2017 as a member of FSC International. It regularly submits stakeholder reports to certification bodies to promote better labour and environmental policies.