A new set of regulations announced yesterday seek to improve the lives of seasonal agriculture workers who move around the country throughout the year in pursuit of jobs.
As part of the regulations expected to be implemented this year, seasonal workers will be accommodated at temporary housing units, complete with basic services including electricity and water instead of primitive tents they set up near the farms and fields they previously worked at. Local authorities will be required to set up units, either prefabricated or concrete buildings, for the workers. The workers often complain about the safety risks of the tents, which are exposed to natural disasters and other problems.
The workers will also be offered a set of health benefits, from free medical examinations both for them and their families with the aid of mobile healthcare units.
Under the regulations, the children of the seasonal workers will be provided access to education and families will be given incentives such as free education materials and cash handouts to enroll their children at schools in places they work at.
Moving around the country is another major challenge for workers whose employers often choose unsafe vehicles for their transport and overcrowded vehicles are often involved in accidents. In July 2015, 15 seasonal workers were killed when their pickup truck collided with a tanker in western Turkey. New regulations mandate more road safety checks for vehicles carrying seasonal workers. Any vehicle carrying seasonal workers will be banned from travel between midnight and 6:00 a.m.
The government also ordered the formation of a board to monitor and address the problems of seasonal workers.