Turkish civil servants go on strike against government's raise offer for 2024

Confederation of Public Employees Trade Union (KESK) on Aug. 16 went on strike against the government's 23% salary increase offer for 2024, which is below Central Bank’s inflation forecast of 33%.

Many civil servants gather in Istanbul to protest the raise offer.

Duvar English

Civil servants affiliated with the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Union (KESK) on Aug. 18 went on strike following the government's proposal of a 14% increase for the first half and a 9% increase for the second half of 2024 along with 6% and 5% salary increase for 2025 in ongoing collective bargaining negotiations.

The public employees gather in capital Ankara. 

The KESK issued a statement in capital Ankara and reminded that the Central Bank has announced the inflation forecast as 33% for 2024 and 15% for 2025 recently. At the meeting with the unions on Aug. 14, the government proposed a 23% increase for 2024, including an additional allowance not reflected in the base salary.

The confederation criticized the reliance on government-run Turkish Statistical Institute's (TÜİK) inflation data and revealed that while the projected inflation for 2021 stood at 8%, the real inflation soared to 36.08%, surpassing it by a factor of 4.5. Similarly, despite the government’s 2022 inflation target of 9.8%, the actual inflation rate surged to 64.27%, surpassing the goal by 6.5 times.

Many gather in southeastern Diyarbakır province.

The KESK also stated that the offer would not satisfy more than four million public employees and nearly 2.5 million pensioners.

The poverty line for a family of four reached 38,000 Turkish liras ($1.4K) as of July 2023 and the confederation asked that the lowest salary should be at least 45,000 liras ($1.6K). According to the government’s proposal, salary of a lowest public employee will be 30,000 liras two years later which is currently 22,000 liras, the KESK stated.

The confederation also criticized the fact that the offer did not include rent and nursery allowance along with a bonus. 


Memur-sen does not accept government's offer

The Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions (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.

Memur-sen, which is known to be close to the government, said that the raise offer was unrealistic under the pressure of inflation and that a new offer should be made urgently.

The government will present its second offer on Aug. 17 and its third offer on Aug. 22. If these proposals are not accepted by the Memur-Sen, they will apply to the Public Officials Arbitration Board as of Aug. 23. At this stage, the board will announce its decision on the contract until the end of the month at the latest.

The government representatives and Memur-sen on Aug. 14 meet for the first time.

As of 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 1 million members. The Confederation of Public Employees' Trade Unions of Turkey (Türkiye Kamu-Sen) ranks second with 552,000 members, while KESK follows with a membership count of 163,000.

Therefore, Memur-sen holds the power to negotiate with the government during collective bargaining process.