Syrian children are being employed for more profit
An employer that took part in the study on ‘Syrian child workers’ in Hatay accepted that he employs Syrian children for more profit.
Tamer Arda ERŞİN
Nihat Kireçdağ, an undergraduate studying Work Economy at the Kocaeli University, shared his findings form ‘Syrian child workers; a field study in Antakya’ conducted between 7-27 August in an article the Work Health and Safety Magazine of the Turkish Medical Association. Kireçdağ states that 50 Syrian child workers, one employer of Syrian children and 3 head teachers from the schools that the children attend took part in the study. The employer of a textile factory was asked “Why are you still employing child workers despite the numerous legal sanctions?”; his response was “Previously, I used to pay Turkish workers 200TL and overlockers 250TL a week. I employ 3 overlockers and 4 machine operators; their monthly wages add up to 6 thousand 400TL. Nowadays, 14-15 year olds can do this work. It took me a month to teach them and they are really good now. I pay the overlocker 70TL and the machinists 50TL; this adds up to 1720TL. I save 4500TL a month. Iam not the only one, everyone employs Syrian children. If the government fines anyone, they must fine everyone and that is impossible. We also worked in our time and have to consider our income.”
20 TL A WEEK AND A BEATING FROM THE BOSS
According to the study, of the 50 child workers, 25 children receive wages of less than 50 TL a week. The lowest wage received by a child was 20TL and the highest 120TL. The average wage for the 50 children was 60.5TL. 80% of the children worked over 12 hours a day, while the other 20% worked in the afternoon because they went to school in the morning. The ones that attend schoolwork 7 hours a day during the week and 12 hours on Saturdays. 88% of the children walk to work; 58% provide their lunch themselves and bring food from home.
When asked “How do you find work?”98% of the children responded with “dirty, tiring and hard”. When asked “how does your employer treat you?”, 52% responded with “the boss tells us off, gets angry, beats us up and is very strict”.
I WISH I HAD A BIKE
The children were asked if they get a chance to go to cinema, read books, take part in sports and play. 50% of the children said that they are too tired after work to take part in any of these activities. When asked what they would like to do and what they dreamt of doing, most children responded that walking to and back from work is so tiring and they wished they had a bike to cycle to work.