Europe, Middle East, News Watch, Side Feature

Collective Aggrements of Government Employee Unions

Turkey: The rate of rise that government employees and retirees were eagerly waiting for has become clear. The salary of government and retired employees was increased by 5 percent in the first six months of 2022, 7 percent in the second six months, 8 percent in the first six months of 2023, 6 percent in the second six months, and by inflation differences. Bilgin, Minister of Labor and Social Security, stated that studies will be carried out for 3,600 additional indexes and will be completed within the scope of the contract.

As of December every year in Turkey, the determination of the minimum wage is brought to the agenda. Regarding the subject, there becomes a discussion traffic that lasts for about a month. In the same way, periodically, negotiations regarding collective agreements between unions and related institutions are made in different time periods. In these negotiations, salary increases are negotiated for all government employees and members of unions.

In these negotiations, while the unions demand high rate of rise and other bonifications, employers and government officials that are on the opposite side offer a lower figure. At the end of these seemingly made negotiations, they agree on a certain number. Within this framework, long-standing negotiations between unions of employees and government officials finished this month. After that, Minister of Labor announced the rate of rise as above.

I would like to state the following issues regarding these agreements.

  1. Many of the head of unions and representatives that are at the contract table are also employers. Because the unions, which are alleged to have been established to protect the rights of the employees, provide great financial resources to the people sitting in these seats rather than protecting the rights of the employees, and indirectly provide income to the capital owners.
  2. Due to the structure of the economy, although the salary increases as a result of collective bargaining agreements and determinations of minimum wage seem to be in the favor of the employees, this is not the case in reality, because the salary increases are directly reflected in the costs, which causes an increase in the prices of goods and services and inflation. For example, following the minimum wage that was announced as 2,825 liras and 90 kuruş, with an increase of 21.56% at the beginning of the year, the prices of basic needs also increased. That is, a worker had to spend a large part of the increase and sometimes more on the markup.
  3. Collective bargaining agreements or minimum wage determinations negatively affect the economic equilibrium, because, without taking into account the benefit provided by the worker, it is not right to see all workers at the same level and make salary increases. Wages should be determined by the market, taking into account either the benefit from the work or the benefit provided by the employee. It is not possible for all members of union to provide benefit at the same level.
  4. Particularly, determination of the minimum wage aims to condemn the workers to the amount only at a level they can live on. Workers can only get a wage at a level where they can survive and work, not the wages they are truly entitled to. The capitalist system, on the other hand, uses unions as a tool to silence people, close the capitalist system’s deficits and to increase the earnings of certain segments.
  5. On the other hand, according to Islam, union or unionization is one of the things that are unacceptable, because it is the duty of the head of the state to look after the affairs of the Ummah. Islam, on the other hand, has put the provisions that will ensure that the head of the state fulfills this duty properly and that every person who has the right is given his due. Allah Azza wa Jalla says that everything is explained in the Quran. In other words, Islam contains provisions that will solve all the problems of people, while today’s human systems constantly create problems with what they do. The provisions brought by the Islamic Sharia have solved many problems that exist today from the very beginning.
  6. Undoubtfully, with the establishment of the Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided Caliphate) State, which will rule with what Allah has revealed, issues such as workers, employers, minimum wage, collective bargaining agreements, unions and unionization will stop from being a problem altogether.

[أَلَا يَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَ وَهُوَ اللَّط۪يفُ الْخَب۪يرُ]

“Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?” [Al-Mulk: 14]

Muhammet Hanefi YAĞMUR