EN Finance & Economy

Modern Slavery in Shopping Malls: Report from Main Opposition CHP

According to the main opposition Republican People’s Party CHP’s Shopping Mall Report, employees in shopping malls who are working for 12 hours, can also not benefit from religious and national holidays. More than half of the shopping mall workers constantly work overtime. 54.4 percent of shopping mall employees have no vacation time.

CHP Party Council (PM) member and Ankara Deputy Tekin Bingöl, prepared a report on the exploitation of labor at shopping malls. In the report which stated that the number of employees in the shopping malls is approximately 500 thousand, “Shopping center workers who work for 12 hours cannot benefit from religious and national holidays, especially on May 1 International Workers’ Day. More than half of the shopping mall workers constantly work overtime. 54.4 percent of shopping mall employees did not have any vacation so far. Even the toilet and lunch breaks cause problem for the employees. Shopping mall employees’ right to have break time during the day is limited to 1 hour 15 minutes. Even sitting, outside the break times is forbidden.”

According to the news of the Cumhuriyet Newspaper reporter Mahmut Lıcalı, CHP deputy Tekin Bingöl has prepared a report on the problems of shopping mall employees. Bingöl’s report highlights:

500.000 OF PEOPLE WORK IN THE SHOPPING CENTER

There were 43 shopping malls 10 years ago in Turkey, today that number has risen to 396. 114 of these shopping malls are in İstanbul, 38 in Ankara, 24 in İzmir, 17 in Antalya, 15 in Bursa, 11 in Kocaeli, 11 in Muğla, 6 in Gaziantep, 6 in Denizli, 4 in Adana and 150 in other provinces. 2.5 million people go to the shopping malls every month in Turkey. The number of people working in these shopping malls is approximately 500.000.

MORE THAN HALF OF THEM ARE YOUNG

The rate of employees under the age of 25 is 56.4 percent; The rate of those over 35 is only 6.2 percent. Because of the increase in youth unemployment in Turkey, young people are pressured to work in poor conditions.

HALF OF THE DAY SPENDS IN THE SHOPPING CENTER

The most important problem of shopping mall employees is working hours. While they start to work at 10 a.m. the earliest end time is 22.00 o’clock. Shopping mall employees work 12 hours a day for everyone’s satisfaction, and cannot benefit from religious and national holidays, especially on May 1. More than half of the shopping mall employees constantly work overtime.

NEVER SEEING DAYLIGHT

Long working hours adversely affect the social life of shopping mall employees. Balance of work and social life of workers, whose work life and social life balance are turned upside down, is constantly conflicting. Since they cannot benefit from religious and national holidays, their negotiation with family and friends could be considered as “none existent.” 54.4 percent of shopping center employees have never had a vacation. As their social lives are restricted, their friends’ circle evolves accordingly and can only meet with friends in stores or shopping malls. They are isolated from the outside world because they are in a closed building all day. They work deprived of seasons, rain, snow and daylight.

ALL SEEING EYE NEVER RESTS, EVEN SITTING IS FORBIDDEN

The conditions of the working people of the shopping malls, who have problems in terms of wages and working hours, their conditions during the working hours are in a way that violates human dignity. Employees are constantly monitored by cameras or supervisors in shopping malls where control is never ending. Shopping mall employees spend half of the day in the workplace, their right to have break time during the day is limited to 1 hour 15 minutes. Even sitting, outside the break time is forbidden. Both the work of the shopping mall workers and their attitudes towards customers are constantly monitored. Continuous surveillance and being viewed are combined with fear of making a mistake and particularly cause psychological destruction.

HEALTH PROBLEMS ARE INCREASING

In addition to long working hours, shopping mall workers are exposed to serious permanent illnesses due to poor working conditions. Muscle and skeletal system disorders are common among shopping mall workers who are permanently standing and forbidden to sit even if there are no customers. Varicose veins, hernia, foot disorders, as well as work-related stress and mental problems, are increasing. Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight, continuous exposure to radiation because of electrical items and working under intense light and sound, triggers health problems. On the other hand, being disconnected from social life causes depression, anxiety disorder, emotion fluctuations, and anger control problems.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?

  • Working conditions should be organized and this job should be defined as a profession.
  • Working hours and vacations must be corrected immediately, Sundays should be declared as day-off.
  • There must be resting areas.
  • Human needs should be met easily.
  • Personal spaces should be created for shopping mall workers.
  • Activity areas should be built for the children of the employees.
  • The Ministry of Labor auditing processes should be increased.
  • Union and right to assemble should be ensured without interference.
  • Employees should have a holiday on the first day of religious holidays.

Translated by Atakan Hüyük