Minimum wage negotiations concerning 6 million Turkish workers start on Dec 2

Minimum wage negotiations concerning 6 million Turkish workers start on Dec 2

Hacer Boyacıoğlu - ANKARA
Minimum wage negotiations concerning 6 million Turkish workers start on Dec 2

DHA photo

The Minimum Wage Determination Commission will meet on Dec. 2 to discuss the planned rise in the wage of around 6 million workers in Turkey.

As part of its pledges ahead of the Nov. 1 general election, the winning Justice and Development Party (AKP) vowed to increase the minimum wage from around 1,000 Turkish Liras to 1,300 liras. The new cabinet has since said the proposal will be submitted to the Minimum Wage Determination Commission, after several employers expressed objections to the plan. 

Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK) head Yağız Eyüboğlu told daily Hürriyet that association members were not against the raise, but simply the shouldering of the whole burden by employers. 

“Why should we be against against any move that will likely increase the welfare level of our employees? We are not. What we are against is the expectation that employers will shoulder the whole burden,” Eyüboğlu said. 

“Some 84 percent of the minimum wage burden results from social security premiums. A decrease of around 5 percent in these premiums can be made. In addition, the 2 percent employer premium for the Unemployment Insurance could be excluded for a while. There are already sources worth a total of 91 billion liras in the unemployment insurance fund,” he said, adding that Turkey needs to take several steps to make sure it does not lag behind regional competitors such as Poland and Hungary. 

If the minimum wage is increased to 1,300 liras, the equivalent costs on employers for each employee will rise to 1,934 liras, Eyüboğlu also stated. 

“The annual additional cost per employee will be 3,532 liras … We want the state to conduct a detailed study on this issue,” he said. 

Eyüboğlu noted that TİSK will also continue to voice the potential effects of the minimum wage rise on the unemployment rate and informal employment levels. 

Speaking in a televised interview on Nov. 30, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık signaled that the government was planning to help employers facilitate the planned minimum wage raise. 

There are around 12 million employees in Turkey and some 5 million are paid a minimum wage, at least on paper. However, many companies illegally show wages to be lower in order to avoid higher fees.