Civil servants union close to Turkish gov’t stages nationwide protests against raise proposal

Public employee confederation Memur-sen, known for its stance close to the government, staged nationwide protests after the Turkish government's revised salary increase proposal of 25% for 2024, falling 8% below the Central Bank's projected inflation.

Duvar English

The Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions (Memur-sen), known to be close to the government, on Aug.18 organized protests in all provinces after the Turkish government on Aug. 17 offered a 25% raise for 2024 in the ongoing collective bargaining process. 

In the negotiations that commenced on Aug. 14, the government augmented its initial proposal by two points. However, this move was met with dissatisfaction from Memur-sen, as it still remained eight points below the Central Bank's projected inflation rate (33%).

The government will propose a new and final offer on Aug. 22. If the parties fail to reach an agreement on this date, they will apply to the Public Officials Arbitration Board. At this stage, the board will announce its decision on the contract by the end of the month at the latest.

Memur-Sen took part in the collective bargaining negotiations as the authorized confederation and had asked for an increase of 35 percent in the first three months, 10 percent in the second three months, 15 percent in the third three months, and 10 percent in the fourth three months, including the welfare share in 3-month periods for 2024.

For 2025, the confederation had requested an increase of 25 percent in the first half and 15 percent in the second half, including the welfare share in 6-month periods.

As of the latest data announced by the Labor and Social Security Ministry in July, 2.1 million out of 2.8 million civil servants hold union memberships. Among these, Memur-Sen stands as the largest confederation, boasting roughly one million members. Therefore, Memur-sen holds the power to negotiate with the government during the collective bargaining process.

The Confederation of Public Employees Trade Union (KESK) on Aug. 16 also went on strike against the government's first offer. The confederation asked that the lowest salary should be at least 45,000 Turkish liras ($1.6K).

After government-run TÜİK announced the six-month inflation rate for 2023 as 19.77 percent in June, the government applied a 17.55 percent plus 8,077 Turkish Liras increase for the civil servant's salaries, making the lowest salary 22,017 liras ($812).