Tuesday’s meeting of the north’s Minimum wage determination committee ended without agreement after the involved parties could not agree as to when the minimum wage should be altered.
As is standard practice, the meeting was attended by ‘labour minister’ Sadik Gardiyanoglu, chairman of the Cyprus Turkish trade unions’ federation (Hur-Is) Ahmet Serdaroglu, and Cyprus Turkish employers’ union chairman Metin Arhun.
Speaking at the beginning of the meeting, Serdaroglu said “action should be taken as quickly as possible by paying attention to the facts of the situation.”
“The facts are being ignored. As soon as the minimum wage is set, it becomes a poverty wage within a month. Retail prices have been going up for months and yet businesses’ expenses have not increased at all,” he said.
He added, “while there was a 15 per cent increase in electricity prices, no businesses faced bankruptcy.”
“People are saying the country is going bankrupt because minimum wage workers cannot make ends meet and are being crushed,” he said.
However, Metin Arhun was of the opposite opinion. He said, “we do not like that the minimum wage is on the agenda too much. It is harming the country.”
“Figures announced by the Finance ministry are irrelevant. The entire business community is in serious trouble. Our motivation is being destroyed. Saying that wages may increase gives employees expectations and then they get disappointed when they are paid less,” he said.
The north’s current minimum wage has remained static since August, when it was set at a net figure of 15,750TL. At the time, that figure was worth €541, but with the Turkish Lira’s value depreciating, it is now worth just €497.
In effect, therefore, minimum wage workers in the north have taken an eight per cent salary cut since August.