Turkey to raise minimum wage by 8 percent to 1,400 liras
REUTERS photoTurkey will raise the monthly minimum wage by 8 percent to 1,404 Turkish liras ($397), Labor Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said at a press conference on Dec. 29 in Ankara, a level that trade unions did not welcome.
“The minimum wage in Turkey is increasing from 1,300 Turkish liras per month ($368) to 1,404 liras ($397) per month, as of 2017, after we reached an agreement with stakeholders,” he said.
“The wage elevation will be put into force on the first day of the New Year,” he added.
Traditionally, two levels are marked for the two halves of the year.
However, the increase will be ineffective as the compulsory individual retirement system will go into effect, which means a monthly 50 lira cut in wages for savings.
The new gross minimum wage, before deductions for social security premiums and income taxes, is 1,777 liras ($502.6).
The new wage set by the Minimum Wage Commission, made up of government officials and representatives of workers and employers, is significantly below the demand of workers’ representatives.
The Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK) was one of the representatives in the minimum wage discussions.
Türk-İş, one of the leading workers’ trade union confederations in the country representing the employees’ side in the negotiations, refused to sign the declaration of the wage commission. While, Müezzionğlu said he wished Türk-İş had also signed the document.
Kani Beko, the head of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), said the increase was a “fake” one.
“This increase means that that the minimum wage is still below the hunger threshold,” he said.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaorğlu said the increase was by no means sufficient and emphasized on the 4-lira increase in the 1,404 lira wage, in a speech he delivered in the Aegean province of Muğla.
“I just wonder why the government added 4 four liras to the wage. I wonder how Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister or Mr. MPs would meet their family expenses with such a monthly wage,” he added.
Sezai Temelli, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy, said the “small increase” was far from meeting people’s needs.
Last year the minimum wage got a hike of nearly 30 percent to 1,300 liras ($446), in line with the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) campaign pledge ahead of the Nov. 1 elections to raise the wage substantially.
The matter was hotly debated during the election campaigns of all political parties.
A state support to employees will continue next year, but it will be less than the 100 liras in 2016, an initiative that was announced to ease the concerns of the companies in a year of sharp rise.