Türk-İş says new monthly minimum wage not enough to last even 10 days

Representatives of Turkey's biggest trade union confederation Türk-İş have walked out of minimum wage negotiations, saying that the newly determined amount would not even be sufficient to cover the expenses of a worker for 10 days, let alone 30 days. The country's labor, social services and family minister on Dec. 26 announced that the minimum wage for 2020 would be a net 2,324 Turkish Liras ($392) per month following weeks-long negotiations between employers and labor unions.

Duvar English

The representatives of the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-İş) on Dec. 26 walked out of the fourth and final meeting of the Minimum Wage Determination Commission, saying that the newly determined minimum wage amount would not be even enough to cover an employee's expenses for 10 days, let alone one month.

The confederation's secretary in charge of training, Nazmi Irgat, said the purchasing power is currently at its lowest since 2008, due to an ongoing economic crisis and the confederation cannot “accept” a mere 15 percent increase in the net minimum wage. Türk-İş has represented the workers' side during the negotiations as it is the confederation with the highest number of members.

“We think that the determined figure will be not even be sufficient for an employee for 10 days, let alone one month. In this regard, we announce to the public that we do not agree with your decision,” Irgat said during the meeting in the capital Ankara that was broadcast live on television.

Irgat's comments came after Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk announced that the net minimum wage will be increased to 2,324 liras a month as of Jan. 1, 2020 -- up from 2,020 liras a month.

The new gross minimum wage, before deductions such as social security premiums and income taxes, will increase to 2,943 liras.

"This year, the Minimum Wage Determination Commission took its decision by majority vote," Minister Selçuk said.

Selçuk said the wage rise was three percentage points higher than 2019 inflation expectation. The Turkish Central Bank has an inflation forecast of 12 percent for 2019 and 8.2 percent for 2020.

The 15-member Minimum Wage Determination Commission launched its negotiations on Dec. 2 with the participation of Türk-İş, the Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK), representing the employers' side, the Labor, Social Services and Family Ministry and other government bodies.

Last week, Türk-İş had called for a minimum wage increase of 28 percent, saying that they would not accept any amount lower than 2,578 liras.