Thousands of blue and white collar workers gathered at a rally in Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday to protest against a lack of compensation in the face of a drastic devaluation in wages, caused by high inflation and a currency crisis that has long spiralled out of control.
The minimum wage which had been worth 331 euros in February was hardly worth 175 euros on 12 December, the day of the rally.
The annual inflation rate, on the other hand, is over 21 percent in Turkey according to highly controversial official figures, and over 50 percent according to independent research.
The Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions, or DİSK, the organiser of the rally, had earlier called upon the administration of president Erdoğan, for an increase of 85 percent in the minimum wage.
Arzu Çerkezoğlu, the chair of the confederation, addressed the crowd during the rally, criticising the fake optimism of state officials.
“We are the ones who are under the burden of the economic crisis and the pandemic,” she said. “Every night before we go to sleep, we wonder how we’ll be able to pay the bills and how we’ll fare through winter. We wake up every morning to new price increases, as our money turns into paper. But everything’s fine according to those in power… We tell them that our children are unemployed; they say there’s a fall in unemployment. We say we’re unable to fare for ourselves, they say ‘the economy is booming.’
A resounding ‘NO!’ erupted from the crowd when Çerkezoğlu asked if they could get their share of the increase in the exports of companies?
Çerkezoğlu emphasised once again that while there were rumours on raising the minimum wage to 4000 Turkish liras, their demand was 5200.