Abdulkadir Özkan: "Is the first thing a job or minimum wage hike?

Abdulkadir Özkan: "Is the first thing a job or minimum wage hike?
Date: 29.12.2020 16:00

Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Özkan writes on Turkish economy. Here is the full article.

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Minimum wage discussions have been going on for about a month. Finally, after the fourth and last meeting of the Minimum Wage Determination Commission, it was announced how much the minimum wage would be in 2021. On the other hand, the announced figure was below the expectations expressed by the workers, especially for a month. More precisely, a decision was made with the votes of the employer and government representatives. Could the figure below the net 3 thousand lira be increased more? Honestly, there is no clear answer to this question. Apparently, the commission's employers' representatives and government representatives have found a compromise in their own right. Let us state right away that even if the figure to be determined for 2021 was 3 thousand 100 liras expected, our people would not have a comfortable life. For this, it will be enough to go to the market and look at the labels.
Because I know that millions of employees cannot meet the minimum wage that has been applied since the beginning of 2020. Moreover, the reason why they are not enough is not because of unnecessary expenses. Prices are going up and there is no mechanism to prevent increases. Although it is sometimes reflected in the media that certain sanctions are imposed against those who make exorbitant price increases, it is not possible to prevent price increases. Of course, there are various reasons for this, and the leading one is the insufficient domestic production. The price hikes in imported products are also automatically linked to the dollar. In addition, the rise in the dollar automatically leads to an increase in prices, but even if the dollar has fallen, the prices that have previously increased do not go down. The market sees the price that emerged as a result of the jump in the market dollar as a vested right and continues to apply it.
Another important issue is to prioritize infrastructure investments rather than investments that will increase production in our country. The fact that the necessary investments are not made or cannot be made for an increase in production inevitably increases unemployment. As a result, the news that there were 16,848 applications for the recruitment of 81 personnel in some newspapers yesterday shows the extent of unemployment. According to official figures, the rate of unemployed people in our country has exceeded 14 percent. When we look at the event in terms of highly educated youth, the unemployment rate exceeds 25 percent. In such an environment, the primary problem for our people is to find a job. We have been discussing for many years how much this minimum wage should be, while the number of people in need of the support of their family despite completing their military service, who cannot find a job, and the numbers of hunger and poverty lines announced by some institutions every month are obvious. For this, the economic system being implemented should be reviewed primarily.
In addition, as long as the understanding of people who accept wages below the determined minimum wage and the understanding that they work a figure below the determined wage continues, I think the desired result will not be achieved. In this respect, business life that will increase production should develop with new investments.
In the meantime, although it is possible to increase production by choosing to carry out business with constantly borrowed domestic and foreign debts, it does not contribute to the improvement of the economy and increase in welfare. Because a significant part of the income obtained goes to the borrowed interests. In other words, our people work to enrich the owners of global capital. There is no time for our own people.


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