Workers of the Ereğli-Zonguldak coal basin, 1848-1922
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This thesis focuses on the workers in Ereğli-Zonguldak coal basin, the most important mining region in the Ottoman Empire. The operation in the basin started in 1848, and in the course of the three quarter-centuries that passed until 1922, considerable transformations in terms of technology, administrative structure, capital composition etc. have taken place in the basin. These transformations had important consequences for the working and living conditions of the workers, and towards the end of the period in question, the workers themselves emerged as innegligible actors and began to influence the developments in the basin. The thesis is basically organised around two lines of investigation. The first line is the wages of workers. The development of the wages of different categories of workers is investigated for the period of 1875-1922, for which data exists, and the period of 1905-11 and the year 1922 are paid special attention. Leaving aside the apparent erosion during the war years, it could be observed that the real wages in the basin presented a stable pattern. On the other hand, this erosion was not distributed evenly; different categories of workers were affected to different extents. The thesis also discusses the impact of the Strikes of 1908, which broke out in the basin as did throughout the empire. The cuts and deductions imposed on wages under different names are also discussed under a separate heading. The second line of investigation is the industrial accidents that have taken place in the mines. The accidents that occurred in the years 1909-10 are discussed in detail and the reactions of different people, groups and institutions including the state and the workers, to these accidents are analysed. The state’s response has been ambivalent and at times contradictory, in accordance with the nature of Ottoman state of the time and the structural and conjectural conditions in which it found itself. The response of the workers has manifested itself in strikes.