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Changing labour market positions and workplace interactions of irregular moldovan migrants: the case of textile/clothing sector in İstanbul, Turkey

Dağdelen, Görkem
The new international division of labour has transformed the economic structure of Turkey from an import-substituted to an export-oriented economy. Starting from the early 90s, many Moldovan migrants began to come to Turkey in order to work temporarily in the informal economy. They worked in clothing and shoe ateliers until the beginning of this century. Nowadays many Moldovan migrants work in clothing shops as Russian-speaking sales assistants and in the cargo firms as carriers. Based on this historical context, this study explores the changing labour market position and workplace interactions of irregular Moldovan migrants, who are working in the textile/clothing sector in Istanbul, Turkey. I firstly try to understand the mechanisms of the changing labour market positions of irregular migrants by focusing on the factors and agents behind these dynamic processes. Secondly, I intend to analyze the labour process control regimes and resistance in the workplaces where migrants work. With this aim in view, I conducted field research in Istanbul consisting of 35 in depth and informal interviews with Moldovan migrants, Turkish employers and Turkish employees. As a result of the analyses of my findings, I first observed that although foreign workers cannot change the exploitative working conditions, they can find ways of escaping from exploitative working conditions in a context. Secondly, the level of exploitation in informal working conditions are not only determined by the necessities of capitalist accumulation regimes and the migration policies of the state but also by the preferences of employers based on economic and cultural motives but also.