Turkey’s net minimum wage up 15 percent for 2020

Turkey will increase its net monthly minimum wage by 15.03 percent to 2,325 Turkish lira ($392) in 2020, Labor Minister Zehra Zumrut Selcuk announced in Ankara on Thursday.

The minister made the announcement regarding Turkey’s net monthly minimum wage for 2020, which is earned by almost a third of the workforce, during a briefing that was broadcast live on television.

According to a study by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK), some 10 million workers are estimated to work on the minimum wage out of a workforce of nearly 33 million in 2020.

Selcuk also indicated that the wage rise for 2020, which is up to 2,325 liras from 2,021 liras in 2019, was three percentage points higher than the 2019 inflation expectation.

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

Arzu Cerkezoglu, the chair of left-wing DISK said Turkey’s net minimum wage for 2020 is “unacceptable due to being incompatible with human dignity.”

“This is not fair. Those who are willing to give TL 110 billion [nearly $18,5 billion] for Canal Istanbul, deem it proper to increase the workers’ wage only by 10 Turkish lira per day,” she emphasized.

One of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dream projects, Canal Istanbul, is an artificial sea-level waterway bisecting the European side of Turkey to connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara that is expected to be completed in seven years.

The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TURK-IS)’s General Education Secretary Nazmi Irgat on Thursday walked out of a meeting between employers and labor unions after the announcement of 2020’s net minimum wage.

“We think that the determined figure will not even be sufficient for an employee for 10 days, let alone one month. In this regard, we announce to the public that we do not agree with your decision,” Irgat said before leaving the meeting held in the Turkish capital.

The union had demanded an increase of 28 percent to the minimum wage last week, indicating that they would not accept an amount lower than 2,578 liras.

Nearly 4.6 million workers in Turkey are jobless, according to the latest official data announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK). The non-farm jobless rate is at 16.4 percent, while the youth unemployment rate is at 26.1.

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