Public Sector Workers in Turkey Call Strike Over Pay Offer

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Public sector unions say the government’s pay offer is based on discredited data and falls far short of what is required to offset dizzying price rises.

A major association of public sector unions in Turkey has called a one-day strike for Wednesday, angry at the government’s latest pay offer that falls well short of even the official inflation rate.

On Monday, the Confederation of Public Employees’ Unions, KESK, condemned the government’s offer of a 14 per cent pay rise for the first six months of 2024 and nine per cent for the second half and announced its nearly 240,000 members would “stop working” on Wednesday.

It called on the government not to base its offer on official TurkStat data, which independent economists say dramatically understates the rate of price rises in Turkey.

In July, official inflation stood at 47.8 per cent, but independent economists say the real figure is as much as 122 per cent. The Turkish lira, meanwhile, has lost a further 40 per cent in value since elections in May that were won by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party, while the cost of oil, taxes, utility bills and food products remains sky-high.

KESK has called for a minimum public sector wage of 45,000 lira, or roughly 1,500 euros.

Other unions involved in the salary negotiations between public workers and the government expressed similar frustration.

“Our advice to the Public Employers Committee is to revise the offer without delay and make an effort to use the time for a new offer much more efficiently,” Ali Yalcin, president of Confederation of Public Servant Trade Unions, MEMUR SEN, said on Monday.

Yalcin called also for other measures to help public sector employees with the cost-of-living crisis in Turkey, including rent support and salary bonuses.

Negotiations will continue.

Source : Balkaninsight