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Cheap labour from Turkey undermines local employment

17 May 2017

“Another step has been taken. Another race towards the process of becoming a province. A new ‘TRNC-Turkey agreement’. It is called the ‘labour force agreement’,” writes columnist for Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Yeni Duzen’.

He goes on to say that the idea is to bring in a cheap and exploited labour force into the TRNC. In that case, what are the young people here to do, he asks. Should they study at university, continue their studies and sit around with a diploma in their hand? Or should they migrate?

Of course, there should be cooperation with Turkey, he says, however, this should be undertaken after careful consideration, by taking lessons from the past:

“We have all together seen what happened on the citizenship policy. The ‘freedom of entering with identity card’ had been hastily passed by the assembly. What happened next? While a law for the registration of the labour force was being prepared, the outcome was not taken into consideration. Tens of thousands of people came, brought their families, and then the work permit was turned into a citizenship right. And the education and health infrastructure collapsed.”

“Our young people are unemployed in spite of the fact that they have many diplomas! The children of those who have immigrated to the country 30 years ago are also unemployed. The labour force market has changed now. And workers are brought in now under the guise of being ‘university students’,” he writes.

On the same topic, Levent Ozadam columnist for Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Kibris Postasi’, expresses the view that the above-mentioned decision is wrong “if the TRNC is a state”. He reports that Turkey asks for certain laws to be passed, it even tightens the TRNC’s belt for a while and does not send money, if they do not pass those laws. Turkey is the one which always prepares the laws which the TRNC should have prepared. He says that a long debate was held at the assembly on Monday and argues, inter alia, the following:

“The labour force in the TRNC will be secured from Turkey from now on! And our officials will be sidelined. That is, those who want to work here will be registered at the labour offices in Turkey and then will come here and start working. I do not know how Minister Saner is content about this! However, people who think like me are not happy. If the TRNC is a state, and we accept it as such, I will be justified in looking for a hidden catch if the institutions of my state are side-lined on any issue, whatever this issue is!

“Of course, there is also the following reality in particular concerning the investors coming from abroad, who cannot find a sufficient number of employees here! Or the salaries demanded by the employees here are too high. And this means that the workers brought here from Turkey will be taking a salary below the minimum wage which exists here! And because our officials will be sidelined, they will not be able to intervene. That is, this is a decision taken in favour of the bosses!”

Yeni Duzen, Kibris Postasi

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