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Turkish labor rights watchdog says 14 workers died of coronavirus in March

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Turkey’s Health and Safety Labor Watch (İSİG) has said that at least 113 workers died in March due to work-related accidents and diseases, 14 of them from the novel coronavirus, the Diken news website reported on Monday.

The watchdog’s monthly report said that workplaces other than those manufacturing vital resources should be shut down and that workers should be allowed to take paid leave until the critical stages of the coronavirus pandemic are over.

The report highlighted that self-isolation and social distancing are impossible for millions of laborers who have to go to work every day on public transport or by shuttle.

The watchdog also raised concern that practices by employers such as forcing workers to take unpaid leave or use accrued vacation in addition to compelling laborers to put in overtime during the pandemic have become more frequent.

İSİG called for a number of urgent measures to address the problems including prevention of unlawful practices by employers, more frequent health screening for workers and a ban on laying off workers who get infected.

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