Minimal increase for Turkish wage earners .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA / ISTANBUL - The minimum wage commission in Ankara announced the minimum wage for a single worker over the age of 16 as net YTL 527 ($348) and gross YTL 666 ($441) for the year 2009, corresponding to a 4.3 percent rise.

The gross minimum wage for a single worker under the age of 16, meanwhile, will be net YTL 456 and gross YTL 567. The cost of a minimum wage earner under 16 to the employer will be YTL 725.

Citizens speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review prior to the announcement expressed their discontent over the government’s conduct in labor affairs.

The minimum wage commission convened yesterday to determine the minimum wages for 2009. The commission consists of the representatives of the public sector and the Confederation of Turkish Employer Associations, or TİSK, as well as representatives of the Labor Ministry. The Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions, or Türk-İş, protested the government for not taking account its recommendations over the wage and walked out of the commission’s fourth meeting yesterday morning.

Union dissatisfaction
The Turkish Statistics Institution, or TÜİK, announced the monthly minimum wage living cost as net YTL 720 per person and Türk-İş expressed its readiness to discuss the minimum wage based on this figure. The confederation demanded the family of a person who earns minimum wage to be taken into consideration in calculations.

Speaking after the meeting, Nihat Yurdakul of Türk-İş criticized the determined amount and said a single worker couldn’t possibly survive with what the government has determined. The government "had a figure in its mind" and Türk-İş did not be "a part of this game" by not participating in the meeting, Yurdakul said.

The minimum wage currently stands at net YTL 503 and gross YTL 638 gross for a single worker over the age of 16 and net YTL 433 for a worker under the age of 16.

The new minimum wages will be implemented as of Jan. 1, 2009.

Speaking to the Daily News,. Oğuz Çınar, a health sector employee, said the minimum wage should be at least YTL 1,000. "That is the lowest limit for a family to stay alive," Çınar, 27, said. "But it is a fantasy to expect that from this government. The poor will pay the price for their mistake [of voting for this government] once more."

"Considering a four-member family, all of them should work to stay alive with the current minimum wage," said Meliha Yaşar, a teacher. "The amount should be in a range between YTL 1,500 and YTL 2,000. This is the lowest amount to secure a family from hunger," said Yaşar, 41.
Caner Yılmaz, a young worker, said the current minimum wage is "ridiculous."
"I myself work for minimum wage and it is impossible for me to stay alive if I was not living with my family," Yılmaz, 21, said. "I do not expect a considerable change in the amount. There is no reason to be optimistic."
"I just do not understand how minimum wage earners are managing," said Mustafa Dinçsoy, a tradesman. "Home rents are madly high and life gets more expensive everyday. Considering these conditions, the minimum wage should at least be YTL 1,500."

TDN staffer Ekrem Ekici in Istanbul contributed to this report.