İSTANBUL - Stating that the immigrants not given status are a 'blessing' for the financiers, Union expert İrfan Kaygısız said that the workers from Turkey whose working conditions have changed are angry at the immigrant workers, not the bosses.
The problems of immigrants, who have been working without security for many years, started to appear even more with the immigration that started after the civil war in Syria in 2011. Immigrants coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Armenia, Africa and Central Asia, working mainly in factories, workshops under the counter with the addition of more than 5 million Syrians coming to Turkey increased the exploitation in the factories even more. This situation which was in the advantage of the financiers made the working conditions even worse. Immigrant workers who mainly work as seasonal agricultural workers and animal husbandry pulled down the wagers according to the local people. While this situation fueled the racism in Turkey, a lot of Syrian immigrants were attacked in many provinces. A lot of immigrants lost their lives as a result of these attacks.
The Collective Bargaining Specialist of the United Metal Workers Union, who conducted research on this issue, İrfan Kaygisiz, evaluated the problems of the migrant workers, the racist attacks they suffered and the reasons for these attacks.
'LEGAL WORKERS COST MORE'
Stating that the government sees the immigrants 'temporary' and gave them provisional status, Kaygısız said that Turkey only granted citizenship to immigrants coming from Europe, because it made a reservation to Geneva Convention. Stating that those coming from Europe can get a work permit, Kaygisiz said, "Syrians are not refugees anyway. They have a temporary status in terms of legal status and the regulation on work rights came out too late. There is a heavier procedure for them then any other nation living and working in Turkey. Therefore the procedure is very difficult to follow and registered Syrians are very few. Most of them work unregistered.
Underlining that the immigrants are made to work the hardest, dirtiest and most dangerous jobs, Kaygısız told that the Syrian workers are a blessing for the financiers. Emphasizing that the fact that Syrian workers are cheaper is not the only issue, Kaygısız said: "It creates a competition with the local people which causes local people to work for cheaper wages. The bosses makes the local people work for less, stating that the Syrians are working for that. In this regard, the capital is profitable in both ways."
Stating that the workers in Turkey thinks that this is immigrants fault, told that this causes an increase in the racist attacks against immigrants. Kaygısız said that instead of directing their anger towards the bosses, the local workers are directing their anger towards the immigrants, saying that they took their livelihood from their hands. This feeling of competition is something experienced in every field. This increases racism and nationalism. As conditions worsen, racism and nationalism increase more. The immigrants are the ones to suffer the consequences of this competition."
Noting that the current unions put forward the excuse that immigrants are not insured, Kaygesiz emphasized that this is a formal unionism approach and said: "They have to build another way in order to make them union members. Saying that they can not be members because they don't have insurance is to take the easy way out."
Pointing out that in order to solve the migrant worker problem, it must be known that Syrians are also human beings and they have fundamental rights, Kaygısız told that the only way to achieve this is empathy. Emphasizing that it is the trade unions and non-governmental organizations that can achieve this, Kaygısız said: "“But first of all the racism in their inner world must be broken. We are faced with widespread racism and nationalism, including left and democratic circles. That's why there is a need for an internalization process. We have to tell ourselves that all people living in this geography have equal rights. This is not the property of our father and mother. The common values of all humanity is essential. All people must benefit equally from these common values and the blessings of the land they live in."
MA / Tolga Güney