There are 2 million child workers in Turkey, union says

There are 2 million child workers in Turkey, despite the official statistics show the figure as 800,000, a Turkish workers’ union said in a statement.

DISK (The Confederation of Revolutionist Worker’s Unions) on Friday organised a demonstration in front of the Directorate of Social Security in Istanbul’s Fındıklı district, leftist newspaper Cumhuriyet reported.

DISK said the main cause of child labour in Turkey is the government’s education policy. “Opening vocational schools in the industrial zones is an invitation for child labour,” the union’s statement was quoted as saying. Families are also pushing their children to work to help the family, or to develop skills, it said.

According to Turkish Statistical Institute, TurkStat, half of working children do not continue their education, Cumhuriyet reported.

Syrian refugee children are also forced to work in agriculture and the industries, DISK said. "The EU-Turkey refugee deal made their situation worse."

The Ministry of Labour shows 127 workplace deaths of children between 2002 and 2014, the union said, but a data collected by monitoring group of Worker’s Health and Safety counts about 300 children deaths in the last five year only.