The first meeting to determine the minimum wage to be valid in 2022 will be held on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 (tomorrow) with the participation of the social partners, upon the call of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.
The minimum wage is a wage that will make it possible for the worker and his family to live humanely according to the economic and social conditions of the day, and is compatible with human dignity. In this respect, the minimum wage is the minimum source of income necessary for a person to live and survive.
In the preamble to the Constitution of the International Labor Organization (ILO), “the wage that only provides for the subsistence of the worker and his family is not a wage sufficient to live humanely. However, the worker must have sufficient wages to live humanely”.
Three Confederations of Workers came together and shared their demands for a “minimum wage worthy of human dignity”. It is of great importance that the minimum wage, which is the main problem of a significant portion of non-unionized workers, is decided in line with the principles we have determined and defended.
Nearly half of the wage earners earn an income of the minimum wage or around it. The average earnings based on social security contributions are also slightly above the minimum wage. Minimum wage determination studies are closely and directly related not only to the wage earners but also to the whole society. It’s not just the minimum wage earners; It covers a wide range of areas such as minimum living allowance, unemployment benefit, short-time working allowance, disability and old-age pension and care assistance, general health insurance, individual pension, social security borrowing, and determination of social security lower and upper premiums.
The extraordinary fluctuation in the economy, especially in the recent exchange rates, and the increases in the prices of basic goods and services, especially food and rent, have reduced the purchasing power of wage earners who have no income other than their labor.
For this reason, it is our common opinion that the minimum wage that will be valid in 2022 should be determined in a way that will ensure a decent living standard, taking into account the developments in the economy.
The minimum wage is a measure of respect for labor. Within the framework of the social state understanding, it is necessary to determine social peace and work peace with an approach that is based on justice and improvement in income distribution and aims to spread welfare to large masses.
The three Confederations of Workers once again came together, reiterating their demands for “a minimum wage worthy of human dignity” with their families.
Our Constitution gives the state the duty to “take the necessary measures to ensure that the employees get a fair wage suitable for the work they do and benefit from other social benefits”. In addition, it is said that “the living conditions of the employees and the economic situation of the country are also taken into account” in the determination of the minimum wage.
The minimum wage is not a bargaining wage. It is the income that will enable the worker to live humanely with his family. The primary issue to be considered in the negotiations for the determination of the minimum wage is the livelihood conditions faced by the employees. Employees are victims of economic difficulties, not the cause, and it is unacceptable to set the minimum wage low on the grounds of the “economic situation in the country”.
The minimum wage level in our country has fallen behind all EU member countries. In order to compete with global markets, the demands of the labor sector should not be ignored. Turkey should not have an understanding to provide competitive conditions with a low wage policy.
Today, there are unbearable tax burdens on wage earners. The vast majority of income taxpayers in Turkey are those who earn wage income. Moreover, due to the compulsory expenditures made in the purchase of goods and services, both directly on income and earnings, and indirectly in the purchase of goods and services, he is exposed to tax at every stage of his daily life.
Net wages of wage earners decrease in the following months due to increases in tax brackets. Even workers who earn the minimum wage have to receive underpaid wages in the last four months of the year. The practice of compensating for the decline in the minimum wage due to income tax applies only to single workers working for the minimum wage. A worker who is married, has three children, and whose spouse is not working, cannot receive the level of wages he earned at the beginning of the year at the end of the year. The loss of this worker continues as of the total of the year. With this current practice, the family is not protected.
The tax base for wage earners should be differentiated. While the income tax tariff was 17.1 times the gross minimum wage in 2002, it has decreased to 6.7 times today. Although there is a consensus among the social partners regarding the exclusion of the amount corresponding to the minimum wage in all wage incomes from tax, no regulation has been made until now.
The social security premium of the employer has been reduced and the income loss of billions of liras arising from this is covered by the Treasury. However, no reduction was made in the social security premium of the workers. The protective feature of the welfare state should primarily be for low-income wage workers.
In this context; Workers’ representatives defend the principles that should be taken as a basis during the work of the Commission in order to set a minimum wage at a “decent” level, as follows:
- In determining the minimum wage, the “living conditions” approach in the Constitution should be followed first. According to the economic and social conditions of the day, the minimum wage that will enable the worker and his family to live humanely and be compatible with human dignity should be determined.
- The minimum wage should be clearly stated. Tax, social security, etc. to be made from this wage. deductions must be added to the net amount and the minimum wage must not fall below this announced net wage throughout the year. Minimum Living Allowance (AGI) should be added separately according to the marital status of the worker.
- The portion of all wages corresponding to the minimum wage should be tax-free. The income tax tariff should be increased at least by the revaluation rate. In addition, the stamp duty application for wage earners should be abolished. The rate to be applied for the first tax step after the minimum wage should also be 10 percent.
- The minimum wage should be determined individually and annually at the national level, without any discrimination. It should be handled independently of all economic considerations such as qualification, seniority, nature of the work among workers.
- The minimum wage should be accepted as a social wage beyond economic measures and should be determined on the basis of this feature.
- The state should not discriminate among employees, and should take into account the lowest monthly salary in the public sector when determining the minimum wage.
In connection with the minimum wage and taking into account today’s economic conditions;
- A support similar to the social security premium support provided to employers should be given to the workers, and the worker’s SSI premium share should be reduced by 5 points from the budget, so as not to cause any loss in the social security rights of the workers.
- In accordance with the principle of “Social State”, “family assistance” should be put into practice for the non-working spouse.
- Obstacles in front of union organization should be removed and minimum wage incentive should be applied only for workplaces where there is union organization.
Respectfully announced to the public
Ergün ATALAY Mahmut ARSLAN Arzu ÇERKEZOĞLU
TÜRK-İŞ President HAK-İŞ President DİSK President