Bank worker resigns: "I am escaping from Plato's cave"

A letter of resignation written by a bank employee, who resigned from Garanti Bank on the last day of 2018, revealed mobbing and anti-labor practices imposed by Turkey’s one of the biggest banks
Thursday, 03 January 2019 14:24

A bank employee working at a branch of Turkey’s Garanti Bank, whose controlling shareholder is Spain-centered bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), resigned on the last day of 2018. The letter of resignation written by the bank employee revealed the anti-labor practices, psychological pressure, violation of workers’ rights and mobbing that employees have been exposed by the bank management.

In the letter of resignation forwarded to the Breathe Down Bosses’ Neck, which is a solidarity, communication and struggle network led by the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), the bank employee clearly told the psychological pressures, workload density and exploitation that the workers have been subjected at the BBVA-Garanti Bank.

“We account for what we could not do rather than what we did at the end of the day. We are being mercilessly and unfairly criticized [by the bank management] in weekly meetings and in the e-mails we receive every day”, it is stated in the letter of resignation.

“When it comes to the internal customer surveys, which is the only platform that we can share our thoughts and complaints, they [the bank management] ask us to draw a happy family portrait. The principal director we work under dictates how and what we should write in these surveys, and they call it ‘transparent banking system’”, the bank employee wrote.

The worker also pointed out that when there was an employee giving low points to the bank in the surveys, the bank management started a witch-hunt to find that person, creating a great psychological pressure on all the workers in the bank.


Stating that the worst part of all is that they have to put up with all these terrible working conditions and mobbing due to their struggle to earn a living, the bank employee strikingly noted, “as we continue to work at this bank, we unavoidably have a perception that ‘there is no life outside’. This is a fallacy implying that ‘we are nothing outside the bank’. This situation is best described by Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. We think the shadow puppetry shown us are real. The chains in the cave become our obligations. We can’t break them.”

The bank employee wrote that the bank management continuously imposes anti-labor practices such as putting psychological pressure on employees, forcing them to work for long hours, and violating their rights because they are aware of workers’ obligations to work for a living.


There were several other workers at Garanti Bank who resigned in 2018 due to poor working conditions, psychological pressures, exploitation, and mobbing.

In the previous months, Ahmet Öncül, who worked in a branch of the bank, died of a heart attack because of these working pressure and mobbing.

Garanti Bank, which has exposed banking workers to these poor working conditions, was one of the highest profit-making institutions in Turkey in 2017 with the net profit of 6 billion 387 million 974 thousand Turkish Lira [around 1,183 million US dollars].

Garanti Bank Workers' Committee, which works for the collective struggle of the workers in the workplace, issued a statement on the recent development.


Garanti Bank Workers’ Committee, which works for the collective struggle of the workers in the workplace, issued a statement regarding the recent development.

The committee stated that “in every branch of every bank, this thriller movie is playing, but we don't have to live like that. This movie will change when the workers who are the producers of the value realize that they do not need the exploitative bosses.”

The committee also called all the bank workers for exposing the exploitative practices of the employers and joining the network to struggle against these practices together.