Minimum wage increases 15% to TL 2,324, workers' unions not satisfied

Published 26.12.2019 19:13

Turkey will raise the minimum wage by 15.03% in 2020, for a monthly net minimum wage of TL 2,325, the country's Labor, Social Services and Family Minister Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk announced Thursday.

Selçuk made the announcement after the fourth meeting of the Minimum Wage Commission in Ankara that was broadcast live on television and said the raise was 3 percentage points higher than year-end inflation expectation for 2019.

The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) has an inflation forecast of 12% for 2019 and 8.2% for 2020.

The net minimum wage for single people will be TL 2,324 a month ($400 at current rates), up from TL 2,020 a month, Selçuk said. The new gross minimum wage, before deductions such as social security premiums and income taxes, will reach TL 2,943.

The minimum wage for married people with three children is TL 2,479, Selçuk said, adding that the government support of TL 75 per employee for all businesses will be maintained.

The 15-member commission that determines the minimum wage is made up of five representatives from the Ministry of Labor and other government bodies, and trade and employer unions.

The Turkish Confederation of Employer Associations (TİSK) represents the employers' side during the negotiations, while the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş) represents the workers as it is the confederation with the highest number of members.

"This year, the Minimum Wage Determination Commission took its decision by majority vote," she said.

However, Türk-İş General Education Secretary Nazmi Irgat, who represented the union in the meeting, said this amount was unacceptable for workers and walked out of the meeting. Before the meeting, all major trade unions, including Türk-İş, conservative Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-İş) and left-wing Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), said they refuse to negotiate any figure lower than TL 2,578.

Minimum wage negotiations and their outcome are crucial in Turkey since some 7 million workers are estimated to earn minimum wage out of a workforce of 30 million.

Last year, the net minimum wage was increased by 26% despite significantly lower demands by employer unions.

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