The Visibility of an Invisible Community’s Labour Exploitation in an Ethnic Economy: A Comparative Study on Kurdish Movers in the United Kingdom
Keywords:Kurdish movers, London , migration , ethnic economy, labour exploitation
Kurdish movers from Turkey are usually considered as Turkish by researchers. Therefore, very little is known about the experiences of Kurdish movers in the labour market in the United Kingdom. Drawing on field research I conducted in 2014 and 2015 about the ethnic economy and labour market conditions of Kurdish, Turkish, and Turkish-Cypriot movers in London, this study contributes to the literature on migration through analyses of the labour exploitation of Kurds who moved to the UK from Turkey. It demonstrates that the reasons underlying the difference between Kurds and Turks and Turkish-Cypriots in terms of status and working conditions are complex. First of all, Kurdish movers in the UK are relative newcomers, have a limited grasp of English and share a strong sense of solidarity, and also a significant percentage of those Kurds left Turkey in order to escape discrimination and political violence, which makes the possibility of return “impossible”.
Abadan-Unat, N. (1976). Turkish Migration to Europe (1960-1975): A Balance Sheet of Achievement and Failures. In N. Abadan-Unat (Eds.) Turkish Workers in Europe 1960-1975, 1-44. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Akgündüz, A. (1993). Labour Migration from Turkey to Western Europe (1960–1974) An Analytical Review. Capital & Class, 17(3), 153-194. doi:10.1177/030981689305100107
Algan, Y., Dustmann, C., Glitz, A., & Manning, A. (2010). The economic situation of first and second‐generation immigrants in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, The Economic Journal 120 (February), F4-F30. doi: 10.1111 /j. 1468-0297.2009.02338.X.
Bloch, A. (2013). The labour market experiences and strategies of young undocumented migrants. Work, Employment and Society, 27(2), 272-287.
Constant, A., Shachmurove, Y., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2007). What makes an entrepreneur and does it pay? Native men, Turks, and other migrants in Germany. International Migration, 45(4), 71-100. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.2007.00420.x
Dahlman, C. (2002). The political geography of Kurdistan. Eurasian Geography and Economics, 43(4), 271-299. doi:10.2747/1538-722.214.171.1241
Dedeoğlu, S. (2014). Migrants, work and social integration: Women’s labour in the Turkish ethnic economy. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
Demir, I. (2012). Battling with memleket in London: the Kurdish diaspora's engagement with Turkey. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(5), 815-831. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2012.667996
Enneli, P., Modood, T., & Bradley, H. (2005). Young Turks and Kurds: A set of 'invisible' disadvantaged groups (pp. 1-59). York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
Erdemir, A., & Vasta, E. (2007). Differentiating irregularity and solidarity: Turkish immigrants at work in London. Centre on Migration. Policy and Society Working Paper, (42).
Euwals, R., Dagevos, J., Gijsberts, M., & Roodenburg, H. (2010). Citizenship and labor market position: Turkish immigrants in Germany and the Netherlands. International Migration Review, 44(3), 513-538. doi:10.1111/j.1747-7379.2010.00816.x
Gunter, M. M. (2018). Historical dictionary of the Kurds. Rowman & Littlefield.
Holgate, J., Keles, J., Pollert, A., & Kumarappen, L. (2012). Workplace problems among Kurdish workers in London: experiences of an ‘invisible’community and the role of community organisations as support networks. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(4), 595-612. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2012.659124
ILO (International Labour Office). (2019). What is forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, Accessed 10.06.2019. Retrieved from https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/definition/lang--en/index.htm
Karan, O. (2017). Economic Survival Strategies of Turkish Migrants in London. Transnational Press London.
Kesici, M. R. (2013). Emek Piyasaları [Labour Markets]. Dipnot Yayınları.
Kesici, M. R. 2015. Londra’da Çalışan Türkiyeli Göçmenlerin Çalışma Süreleri ve Sosyal İlişkileri [The Working Hours and Social Relations of the Migrants from Turkey in London Labour Markets]. In G. Şeker et al. (Eds.) Turkish Migration Conference 2015 Selected Proceedings, (pp. 212-224), London: Transnational Press.
Kesici, M. R. (2016). Londra’da Türkiyeli Göçmenlerin Emek Piyasalarında Ayrımcılık Deneyim ve Algıları [Experiences and Perceptions of Discrimination of the Migrants from Turkey in London Labour Markets]. Göç Dergisi (GD), 3(2), 261-281. doi:10.33182/gd.v3i2.582
King, R., Thomson, M., Mai, N., & Keles, Y. (2008). ‘Turks’ in the UK: Problems of Definition and the Partial Relevance of Policy. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 6(3), 423-434. doi:10.1080/15362940802371895
Knight, J. (2015). Migrant employment in the ethnic economy: Why do some migrants become ethnic entrepreneurs and others co-ethnic workers?. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 16(3), 575-592. doi:10.1007/s12134-014-0357-1
Light, I., & Gold, S. J. (2000). Ethnic Economies. Academic Press.
London Datastore. (2018). Economic activity rate, employment rate and unemployment rate by ethnic group & nationality, borough. Accessed 08.04.2018. Retrieved from https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/economic-activity-rate-employment-rate-and-unemployment-rate-ethnic-group-national
London Datastore. (2015). London Borough Profiles. Accessed 14.06.2015. Retrieved from http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/london-borough-profiles
Martin, P. L. (1991). The unfinished story: Turkish labour migration to Western Europe: with special reference to the Federal Republic of Germany (Vol. 84). International Labour Organization.
McDowell, L., Batnitzky, A., & Dyer, S. (2009). Precarious work and economic migration: emerging immigrant divisions of labour in Greater London's service sector. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 33(1), 3-25.
Oğuz, G. (2012). EU enlargement and Turkish labour migration. UNU Press.
Ojo, S., Nwankwo, S., & Gbadamosi, A. (2013). Ethnic entrepreneurship: the myths of informal and illegal enterprises in the UK. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 25(7-8), 587-611. doi:10.1080/08985626.2013.814717
Panayiotopoulos, P. (2010). Ethnicity, Migration, Enterprise. In Ethnicity, Migration and Enterprise (pp. 5-50). Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Parent-Thirion, A., Fernandez Macias, E., Hurley, J., & Vermeylen, G. (2007). European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions ‘Fourth European Working Conditions Survey 2005’. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
Perocco, F. (2018). Work Precarisation and New Inequalities: The Role of Migration, in Franceschini, I., & Loubere, N. (Eds.). Gilded Age. 34-39. ANU Press.
Portes, A., & Bach, R. L. (1980). Immigrant earnings: Cuban and Mexican immigrants in the United States. International Migration Review, 14(3), 315-341. doi:10.1177/019791838001400301
Rath, J. C., & Kloosterman, R. C. (2000). 'Outsiders' business. Research of immigrant entrepeneurship in the Netherlands. The International Migration Review, 34(3), 656-680. doi:10.2307/2675940
Rijken, C. (2018). When Bad Labour Conditions Become Exploitation: Lessons Learnt from the Chowdury Case. In Rijken C. & De Lange T. (Eds.), Towards a Decent Labour Market for Low Waged Migrant Workers. 189-206. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Sandler, T., & Tschirhart, J. T. (1980). The economic theory of clubs: An evaluative survey. Journal of economic literature, 18(4), 1481-1521.
Sirkeci, I. (2000). Exploring the Kurdish population in the Turkish context. Genus, 149-175. doi:10.2307/29788634
Sirkeci, I., & Esipova, N. (2013). Turkish migration in Europe and desire to migrate to and from Turkey. Border Crossing, 3(1), 1-13. doi:10.33182/bc.v3i1.522
Sirkeci, I., Bilecen, T., Coştu, Y., Dedeoğlu, S., Kesici, M. R., Şeker, B. D., Tilbe, F., & Unutulmaz, K. O. (2016). Little Turkey in Great Britain. London: Transnational Press London.
Strüder, I. R. (2002). Migrant self-employment in a European global city: The importance of gendered power relations and the importance of performances of belonging for Turkish women in London. Research Papers in Environmental and Spatial Analysis, (74).
Teitelbaum, M. S., & Martin, P. L. (2003). Is Turkey Ready for Europe?. Foreign Affairs, 97-111. doi:10.2307/20033581
UK, GOV. 2017. National minimum wage and national living wage rates. Accessed June 6, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
Waldinger, R. D. (1999). Still the promised city?: African-Americans and new immigrants in postindustrial New York. Harvard University Press.
Wahlbeck, Ö. (2002). The concept of diaspora as an analytical tool in the study of refugee communities. Journal of ethnic and migration studies, 28(2), 221-238. doi:10.1080/13691830220124305
Volery, T. (2007). Ethnic entrepreneurship: a theoretical framework. In L. P. Dana (Eds.). Handbook of research on ethnic minority entrepreneurship: a co-evolutionary view on resource management. 30-41. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.