New minimum wage on starvation line in Turkey

Turkish gov’t announced the net minimum wage for 2019 as 2,020 TL while the starvation line is 1,943 TL
Thursday, 27 December 2018 14:15

The Minimum Wage Determination Commission in Turkey stated that the net minimum wage for workers will be 2,020 Turkish Lira [~$382] by 2019 with a 26 percent increase compared to the previous year.

As the meetings of the Minimum Wage Determination Commission was in progress, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) ─ a government agency commissioned with producing official statistics on Turkey about its population, resources, economy, society, and culture ─ had sent a report to the Commission indicating the minimum wage required for a worker, and it advised a minimum wage of 2,213 Turkish Lira [$418] for ‘‘heavy labor’’, 1,978 TL [$374] for ‘‘medium labor’’, and 1,841 TL [$348] for ‘‘light labor’’ in the report.


Research carried out by the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TÜRK-İŞ) had shown that the starvation line, which is the amount of food expenditure for a family of four to be able to have a healthy, balanced and adequate nutrition, was 1,943 TL [$367] in November 2018.

The research had also indicated that the poverty threshold, which means an aggregate amount of expenditures for food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, health, and other necessities, was 6,328 TL [$1,198] in Turkey.

The new minimum wage determined by the Turkish government is only 77 TL [~$14] above the starvation line of November 2018.

The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) had announced on Dec. 3 that their demand for the net minimum wage was 2,800 TL [~$530].


Although the new minimum wage is only 77 TL above the starvation line reported in November 2018, Turkey’s big capitalists from the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) and the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD) expressed their appreciations to the government after the minimum wage was set.

Erol Bilecik, the current Chairman of TÜSİAD, said that the new minimum wage determined by the government is a very positive development for ‘‘the business world’’.

Abdurrahman Kaan, the Chairman of MÜSİAD, also stated that they deemed a 26-percent increase in the minimum wage ‘‘satisfactory’’.

However, workers, workers’ representatives, and progressive trade unions in Turkey continue expressing that the minimum wage determined for 2019 is not enough to live in an adequate standard of living.


The Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) issued a statement on the new minimum wage.

Underlining that ‘‘both the process in which the minimum wage was determined and its numerical analysis unfold many things regarding the system of exploitation in our country’’, the statement said ‘‘It is quite clear that the capitalists, who have marked up the goods they sell by 50 percent all in one breath, are the gainers of this wage increase.’’

In the statement, TKP called on the people to struggle against this capitalist exploitation, saying that ‘‘there is the only way out for the working class: Maximum struggle!’’