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‘Off-mic’ remark signals soft negotiating posture of Turkish union chief in wage increase talks

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President of the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş) Ergün Atalay inadvertently gave away a lax attitude during public worker wage increase negotiations with the Turkish government in what was supposed to be a private chat with Minister of Labor and Social Security Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, the Diken news website reported on Wednesday.

Despite trying to cover his microphone with his hand, Atalay was heard over another open microphone saying, “Things were going to get messed up, so I shut it down,” after having agreed to a raise significantly lower than expected.

He had previously described the Turkish government’s offer as unacceptable according to their inflation forecast.

Opposition deputy Özgür Özel reacted to Atalay’s remarks, slamming him for settling for an 8 percent pay raise in a negotiation where their initial demand was 15 percent.

“What you refrained from messing up is the possibility of civil servants working and living under more humane conditions,” he tweeted.

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