TODAY’S – State workers lose out amid high inflation, low raises

State workers lose out amid high inflation, low raisesThe lowest-paid public sector employees lost TL 552 this year in wages as salary raises failed to account for high inflation, according to a survey conducted by the Turkish Public Workersand#39 Labor Union (Kamu-Sen).Recent figures from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) put the 11-month inflation rate at 86 percent, but civil servants were only granted a TL 123 wage increase after taxes, which failed to meet the burden of the higher-than-expected inflation.

The government pegged the rate at 5 percent early in the year but it had nearly doubled that by August.According to the Kamu-Sen survey, while the lowest-paid state workers incurred annual losses of TL 552 due to the disparity between inflation and raises, higher-paid state employees sustained heavier losses as the flat TL 123 raise was a smaller percentage of their monthly wages.

State engineers lost as much as TL 2,508, while nurses reported losses of over TL 900 and lawyers sustained losses of over TL 2,000 on an annual basis.Purchasing power has taken a nosedive in Turkey as skyrocketing food prices have severely impacted inflation, bringing it to levels much higher than government forecasts.

The Central Bank of Turkey had acknowledged that the high food prices, which resulted from an unusually long period of drought, was the primary factor in boosting inflation and that it was unlikely that prices would drop significantly in the coming period.andlsquoMinimum wage should be TL 1,800and#39Meanwhile, the net minimum wage — currently TL 892 — has not risen proportionally as Turkey has grown, according to a recent report from the Confederation of Revolutionary Workersand#39 Unions (DISK).

andldquoIn 36 years the economy has nearly quadrupled, and while per capita income is 24 times higher today, the minimum wage has hardly budged. In this period, increases to the minimum wage should be proportional to increases in the presidential budget, meaning the net minimum wage should be around TL 1,800,andrdquo said the report, which pointed out that the minimum wage in Greece is twice as high as in Turkey.

Furthermore, Greece has a 40-hour workweek while in Turkey the workweek is 45 hours.Various labor unions have criticized the low minimum wage and low pay raises as insufficient, a particularly glaring fact given the high pay and luxurious facilities enjoyed by the ruling elite.

Gold-plated glasses unveiled at a dinner hosted by Emine ErdoIan, the countryand#39s first lady, in the newly built and controversial Ak Saray presidential palace, are worth around $500 (approximately TL 1,150) each, more than monthly minimum wage in Turkey, Tezcan KarakuI Candan, the chairman of the Ankara office for the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architectsand#39 Chambers (TMMOB), claimed earlier this month.News reports in October said current deputies in Parliament will see their monthly salaries increase from TL 14,000 to TL 15,000 beginning in 2015, while retired deputies will receive monthly wages of TL 8,190 in the new year, an increase from their existing pensions of TL 7,479.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman