The Global Heroes


6th February 2024 By The Global Heroes Environment and Disasters

For Muhammed Ramazan, securing a job with health insurance marked a significant milestone after a decade in Turkiye. Tasked with maintaining machines at a Gaziantep factory, he joins the ranks of those contributing to the city's textile industry. However, the devastating earthquakes that rocked southeastern Turkiye and northern Syria a year ago have rendered his insurance almost futile.

As a registered Syrian resident in the earthquake zone, Ramazan found himself at the end of the aid queue, with Turkish citizens prioritized. Reports of discrimination surfaced, with refugees, predominantly Syrians, facing physical attacks, verbal abuse, and even evictions from temporary shelters. The earthquakes' epicentre, just 30 kilometres from Gaziantep, left millions affected, exacerbating the plight of already vulnerable populations.

The aftermath of the earthquakes has precipitated dire economic consequences. Unemployment among refugees in Gaziantep has skyrocketed from 10% to 40%, according to the Turkish Red Crescent. Ramazan, a father of four, laments the stark reality of his family's situation, likening their treatment to that of livestock. Despite being employed, his wages barely cover basic needs.

Ramazan's discontent culminated in a strike at Vera Ambalaj, where he and his colleagues demanded better wages, fair treatment, and improved working conditions. The textile sector, vital to Gaziantep's economy, largely relies on informal labor, including Syrian refugees. Many work without permits, facing precarious situations and exploitation.

The earthquakes further exacerbated the plight of Syrian workers, who were coerced into working long hours for low pay to meet production demands. Reports emerged of Syrian workers being undercompensated, denied wages, and threatened with deportation if they protested. The Clean Clothes Campaign highlighted the exploitation faced by workers, with many forced into unsafe conditions and inadequate housing.

The strikes reverberated throughout Turkiye, with workers demanding their rights and fair treatment. Despite facing risks, including violent crackdowns and arrests, they persisted in their fight for justice. Solidarity among Turkish workers and growing international pressure have begun to shed light on the harsh realities faced by Syrian workers in Turkiye's garment industry.

Efforts by labor unions and advocacy groups aim to address systemic issues and provide support to vulnerable workers. Calls for fair wages, job security, and recognition of labor rights underscore the ongoing struggle for dignity and equality. As Turkiye navigates the aftermath of the earthquakes, addressing the challenges faced by Syrian workers remains imperative for fostering inclusive and equitable recovery

Related Posts