Main opposition blasts gov’t over minimum wage

Main opposition blasts gov’t over minimum wage

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Main opposition blasts gov’t over minimum wage

Even when everyone in a family of four earns the minimum wage in Turkey the family income remains below the poverty line, an opposition deputy has said.

The minimum wage in Turkey has depreciated around 34 percent based on the price of gold since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, a prominent opposition deputy has said.

A person could buy 7.1 quarter gold coins with the minimum wage in 2002, the year the AKP came to power, while the same can only buy 4.7 coins today, according to Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Umut Oran.

“The real value of the minimum wage’s purchasing power dropped to two-thirds of the amount it was 10 years ago,” Oran said.

Around 70 percent of Turkish employees work for the minimum wage when the unregistered work force is added to official data announced by Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek at 47 percent, Oran said, stressing that most of these workers were in difficult situations.

He criticized the 773 Turkish Lira minimum wage tariff set by the government, saying it failed to meet people’s needs. Even if everyone in a family of four earned the minimum wage in Turkey the family income would still be below the poverty line, he said.

The hunger line for a family of four stood at 1,007 liras in February, according to a Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (TÜRK-İŞ) survey report. Meanwhile, the TÜRK-İŞ survey shows that the poverty line, which is calculated based on the total cost of all the essential resources that an average human adult consumes in a month including clothes, housing (rent, electricity, water, fuel), transportation, education, and health is 3,280 liras, but the total income of a family of four earning the minimum wage would only be 3,092.

Oran condemned current government policies, claiming that the current level of the minimum wage doomed people to live around the poverty line, as the income of most employees in Turkey was moving away from covering their daily needs. The total income of four people working for 773 liras only covers kitchen expenses, he said.

Turkish government increased the minimum wage at the end of the year by 4.1 percent for the first six months of the year, before a further 4.4 percent rise is introduced in the second half. The government calculated the annual increase in the minimum wage to be 8.61, stressing that this was above the inflation target of 5.2 percent and the growth forecast of 4 percent.