The fourth and final meeting of the Minimum Wage Determination Commission was held on 28 December in Turkey and the commission has determined the net and gross minimum wages for 2021.
Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk announced the final decision of the commission. “The net minimum wage will be 2,825 lira 90 kurush (~377 USD) in 2021”, she said, adding that “the minimum wage has increased by 500 lira, or 21.56%, when compared to the previous year”.
Selçuk also claimed that this increase brought a wealth share of 7 percentage points above inflation. However, some trade unions disagree with her. The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) protested new minimum wage in various squares in Turkey on the day of the announcement. “The real inflation is higher than 25% and workers will suffer again”, stated the DİSK.
The Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TÜRK-İŞ) Secretary General for Education Nazmi Irgat also does not agree with the Minister: “The new minimum wage is insufficient and is far from meeting the expectations of workers”.
While workers’ unions criticised the minimum wage for 2021, employers are more sanguine. Özgür Burak Akkol, Chairman of the Board of the Confederation of Employer Associations of Turkey (TİSK), said the new minimum wage was “balanced”.
The minimum wage is very low in Turkey compared to many countries around the world. However, demands for tax exemption were ignored during the commission’s debates and negotiations. As long as the tax is deducted from the minimum wage, a worker labours for 122 days of the year to cover taxes and deductions in Turkey.