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Workers Warn With One-Hour Work Stop

Public employees this morning left off work for an hour to draw attention to the disagreements on their wage increases.

Following disagreements about the collective labour agreements of public employees, the Türk-İş trade UNION confederation called for a one-hour work stop today (7 July).

One-hour protest
All around Turkey, workers going to work in the morning did not start work at 8.30, but at 9.30.

According to, employees read statements in front of their work places and shouted slogans.

The protests were supported by other trade UNIONs, Hak-İş, DİSK, KESK, Türkiye Kamu-Sen and BASK.

Prior to today’s protest, Türk-İş members had read press statements in front of party buildings of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in order to warn the government.

Strikes possible
At the weekend, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said, “If they want to go on strike, let them. We will pay them what we can afford.”

Mustafa Kumlu, president of the Türk-İş confederation, said that if the protest was not enough to have their voices heard, they would have to become “louder” and start strikes.

Türk-İş representatives told bianet that a strike decision concerning 90,000 workers had already been taken. Should no compromise be reached, strikes would begin on 30 July.

Workers want stable net wage
The current wage negotiations affect 270,000 public employees.

What workers demand is that they are guaranteed the same net wage at the end of the year as they received at the beginning of the year. Currently, the net wage DROPs, both because of taxes and insurance contributions, and because of inflation. Trade UNION representatives say that each 100 lira a worker receives at the beginning of the year DROPs to 94 lira in July and to 90 in December.

The demands made by Türk-İş represent a 12-percent increase in wages. However, the government is suggesting a 3-percent rise in June and a 4-percent rise for the second month.

Trade UNIONists say, “This struggle is for our survival. It is the struggle for the money that comes home and puts food on the table. It is the struggle to be able to send our children to school, buy medicine for our ill family members, pay rent, and pay our natural gas, electricity and water bills.”

Meeting with President
President Abdullah Gül has called trade UNION representatives to his residence in Ankara today. The meeting is expected to be about both the current disagreements between government and workers and the planned implementation of private employment agencies.