Friday, 24 July 2009

Vicious Circle

Vicious Circle......Wikipedia : "a complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop toward greater instability".

I've mentioned before how difficult the work situation is with Mr Ayak. The lack of opportunities compared to his siblings, particularly education, has resulted in him having to live largely by his wits. Having to find work within the tourist industry which doesn't always require qualifications, but is both seasonal and unreliable.

We have had years of him working for different people and either being paid far less than was promised, and often not being paid at all, and there is no redress because the employment laws here (such as they are) are not reinforced. There is a minimum wage apparently...but ask any Turk what it is and they have no idea. It's rare to find a job in the tourist industry that gives you a contract of employment or in fact any guarantee of what you will be paid...or if you will be paid at all.

If Mr Ayak could recover today all that is owed to him for work carried out during his lifetime...we would be quite well fact he could probably retire now.

But there's no chance. So many are in the same situation. For example its quite normal for men to work an entire summer season in a restaurant with appalling personnel accommodation and food, with the promise of payment of their accumulated wage at the end of the season. More often than not it doesn't materialise. And there's not a damn thing they can do about it. Of course if Turkey is accepted into the will have to change.......IF accepted...but that's another story!

So in the past couple of months Mr Ayak has worked for two different bosses, and he is still owed money. ...and all he can do is phone them constantly or keep turning up at their premises to ask.....all of which is costing us money in phone calls and petrol. So in the meantime he has done what he always does...gone off to work somewhere else in the hope that he will be paid. This time, although it's still in our area, it's too far for him to travel back and forth each day because we can't afford the petrol. So since Tuesday he has been staying in personnel accommodation and eating personnel food, and I will see him as soon as he has enough money for petrol and to pay the bills.

I used to get angry but there's no just raises my blood pressure. Mr Ayak gets angry enough for both of us. Sometimes to the extent that he deals with it the "Turkish way" ie if, after a certain amount of time, it's clear that the boss won't pay up, Mr Ayak hits him. It doesn't always make the money materialise (although occasionally it has) , but it makes Mr Ayak feel a little better.

A vicious circle indeed.


  1. I've enjoyed catching up on your blog but I love the entries journaling the travails of Mr Ayak. You paint a clear but sympathetic view of life in Turkey.

    If Mr Ayak could recover today all that is owed to him for work carried out during his lifetime...we would be quite well fact he could probably retire now.

    Sheesh. Its bad enough trying to get paid where there are laws and redress for such things...

  2. I agree with you about it being best to stay calm but you must be very strong to be able to do that. What a horrendously unfair situation. I know they say that love conquers all but things must be very hard sometimes.Why does everything come with a price - love versus material comforts?

  3. TAF and FF...I feel I'm painting too negative a picture of life in Turkey..I'm just trying to be honest and realistic in my blog. I ought to make my next post more positive perhaps :-)

  4. Oh no Ayak you are painting a realistic picture. No need to sugar coat it, honesty is the best policy etc. I think it´s good that it comes out in the open.

    Yes, I have heard similar story´s of staff not being paid at the ending of the season. Well it´s a tantamount to robbery and slavery.

    I´m really sorry that Mr.Ayak has to go through this all this exploitation. It´s so unfair you want to cry. I can understand why things become so difficult for you at times.

    I really do hope that things change for him. And imo his well educated siblings should help him.

    This post has got me thinking. What is need is the tour operators and tourist´s are urged to use and frequent the hotels or restaurants etc who play by the rules, are fair employers who pay their staff.

    Someone should set up a best practice index so we can support the ethical business. It would also put pressure on the government.

    If there is one good thing that those seaside Ex-pats could do is organize something like this. Instead of endless charity balls for feeding the stray cats. Not that the stray cats and dogs don´t deserve attention.

    Gosh this makes my blood boil.

  5. Oh yes...what a good idea...a best practise index. But you know what most of the expats are like Amagerican...they wouldn't encourage this because it would push prices up wouldn't it? Most of them don't give the poor staff a second thought, so long as they get what they want.

  6. That index is a very good idea indeed

  7. I apologize for my spelling what I meant to say was:

    What is needed is for the tour operators to book with hotels & incoming agencies who are ethical in the treatment of their staff i.e pay a salary, breaks etc.

    Someone should set up a best practice index so the tourist can support ethical and fair business. It would also put pressure on the government.

    Ayak you were right. In fact a couple of months ago on that forum, Ex-pats were complaining about some new health & safety regulation covering Turkish workers and the cost of it.


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