Labor and Social Security Minister Vedat Bilgin has ruled out adjusting the minimum wage again this year.
“We declared the minimum wage raise to be above by 50 percent for the first time in Turkey’s history... These days, there is debate on the minimum wage again. I don’t think this is very meaningful,” he said at an event on March 22.
Inflation is impacting the entire world, Bilgin said, adding that global production and supply chain problems also reflected on the Turkish economy.
“Despite all these, Turkey completed the year 2021 with an 11 percent growth,” he said.
Last week, Nihat Zeybekci, a member of the presidency’s economic policies team and former economy minister, signaled there could be a raise again in the minimum wage by mid-year.
CHP submits bill proposing to adjust minimum wage twice a year
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Veli Ağbaba on March 21 submitted a bill in parliament proposing the monthly minimum wage should be adjusted twice a year in line with inflation.
“For the first time in Turkish history probably a first happened and the minimum wage determined for the year 2022 fell under the hunger line as soon as it got in the pockets of workers in the month of February,” he said.
Around 10 million workers and their families have to get by with the minimum wage, he said.
“This means that those on minimum wage in Turkey and the families they are responsible for feeding live below the hunger level,” Ağbaba added.
Turkey hiked its minimum wage in December 2021 by a massive 50 percent to 4,250 liras ($286.8) per month in the wake of a currency crash and inflation spike last year.
In February, its annual inflation hit a two-decade high of 54.4 percent, with debates that an adjustment could be made mid-year to offset surging living costs. Independent economists say inflation is undercounted and is actually above 100 percent.
The government’s unorthodox policy of cutting interest rates in the face of price hikes spiraled inflation and plunged the Turkish Lira into record lows.
The lira lost 44 percent of its value in 2021 alone.