A “coal exit” where no one is unemployed is possible.

Sustainable Economy and Finance Research Association (SEFiA) and Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe) prepared an “Exiting Coal-Based Employment” report to analyse the extent to which an exit from coal in electricity generation in Turkey may create potential problems and solutions for the employment sector. The report highlights the coal sector’s share of total employment is less than 2 per thousand, and argues that investments in green sectors for decent jobs will ensure that no one is left unemployed. It also emphasizes that a fair exit from coal is possible for the sector’s workers, and even includes the possibility to improve their living conditions if certain conditions are met.

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Some key findings include: 

  • The value-added share of coal and lignite mining in GDP has declined over the years to 0.08%.
  • According to Social Security Institution data, around 35 thousand people are employed in the coal and lignite mining sector and 8-10 thousand people are employed in coal-fired thermal power plants. Turkish Statistical Institute Household Labor Force Survey enounces formal and informal employment in the sector is less than 2 per thousand of total employment.
  • Even in Zonguldak province, Turkiye’s coal hub, the coal mining sector accounts for only 4% to 6% of employment.
  • In the 5 top provinces for coal mining in Turkiye, including Muğla, Zonguldak, Kahramanmaraş, Manisa and Çanakkale, the sector accounts for only around 3 per thousand of employment and is not among the top 10 highest employers.
  • The education level of miners, 66% of whom are between the ages of 25-44, is not lower than workers in other sectors. This enables the possibility of employing mining workers in other sectors.
  • The estimates show up to 2% of mining workers are child labourers. The condition of child labourers in the sector is worse than in any other sector due to widespread informality and low income.
  • Work accidents and occupational diseases are common in the sector. In 2020, there were 8,460 work accidents, placing the coal sector at the top of the list with the highest number of work accidents per worker. There is no record of improvements in working conditions and contrarily they have worsened: between 2008 and 2019, the number of workplace accidents increased by 57% (the total number of 5,728 workplace accidents in 2008 and 8,983 in 2018), despite the decreasing number of workplaces. Duration of incapacity per employment due to occupational accidents, total number of illness incidents and duration of temporary incapacity due to illness have all been increased.

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