Teachers' union Egitim Sen is one of the unions calling a general strike tomorrow in protest at the appalling disaster at the Soma mine, where at the time of writing, 238 miners have been killed and hundreds more are trapped. Workers' leaders are calling it 'the greatest workplace massacre in the history of the Turkish working class.'

The lignite mine belonged to a private firm called Soma Holdings with close links to the AKP government according to reports. Soma holdings got into the mining industry after the push towards privatisation in the 1990s. The company reduced the cost of producing coal primarily by hiring unskilled contract workers. Only two weeks ago, opposition MPs proposed an investigation into accidents at the mine, but it was voted down by MPs from the ruling AKP. One miner says in the video clip above, 'It's all because of money', and another, 'They send us here like lambs to the slaughter.'

At first the energy minister tried to play down the number of deaths and the government has deployed hundreds of riot police and equipment to the town to head off any protests.There have been demonstrations and sit-ins in many of the big towns in Turkey today by residents, university students and also school students. Police fired tear gas and water cannon at students attempting to march to the energy ministry from the university, in the capital Ankara. There were also reports of clashes in Istanbul.

Tomorrow's strike will include doctors, engineers and architects, private sector workers and other public sector workers as well as teachers. Egitim Sen is calling on all to wear black tomorrow (Thursday 15th May) and to take part in the strike. They are anticipating attacks by police.