Turkey: Law Of Trade Unions And Collective Bargaining Agreements Has Entered Into Force

Last Updated: 27 December 2012
Article by Alper Uzun

Scope and Objective of the Law

The new Law No. 6356 on Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements (the "Law") was published in the Official Gazette dated 07.11.2012 and entered into force upon publication. The law regulates the procedures and principles regarding the establishment, management, operation, inspection, running and organization of employee and employer's unions and confederations.  The Law further establishes the procedures and principles for entering into collective bargaining agreements between employees and employers in order to mutually determine their economic and social status and working conditions and for settling disputes amicably and resorting to strike and lock-out.

A new situation regarding the union rights and freedoms emerged with the amendment made to the Turkish Constitution in 2010 with the Law numbered 5982. As a result of these Constitutional amendments, it became inevitable for the laws on the collective labour relations to be re-evaluated in a more liberal manner.

The amendments that were made with a more liberal approach in the articles have been rendered incoherent amongst the non-amended articles of these statutes. In addition, since the partial amendments that were made do not offer coherence, it could not succeed in the solution of the problems encountered in practice. Therefore, the necessity to legislate a long-termed law, which will take the labour relations system a step further in accordance with the current concerns, and at the same time which will bring substantial solutions to working life has arisen.

The Reforms Brought by the Law

The Law re-regulates union rights and freedoms, right of collective bargaining and free labour negotiations by taking into account international norms and on the basis of principles of a liberal and democratic society. In preparing the Law, the European Union and International Labour Union "ILO" norms, the structural problems of the working life, the judicial precedents and criticisms in the doctrine, were taken into consideration.

The union rights and freedoms, free collective bargaining and the resolution ways of the collective bargaining disputes have played a significant role in the relations between Turkey and ILO from 1932 when Turkey became a member to ILO, until today. The union rights and freedoms and the process of liberated collective bargaining are re-regulated under the Law by taking into account the ILO Convention No. 87 and 98. The issues of establishment of a union, membership to a union, being a manager in the union, union assurances, union activities, the operation and inspection of unions, free collective bargaining, the solution of labour disputes and level of collective bargaining agreements are regulated in parallel with the Conventions No 89 and 97. Within the Law, many provisions of the Revised European Social Charter are taken into consideration including mainly Article 5 on the right to organize and Article 6 on the right to bargain collectively and to strike.

Framework contract and group collective bargaining agreements are defined for the first time with this Law. The Law regulates the establishment, organs, activities and operation of trade unions in addition to collective labour bargaining agreements level, free collective bargaining, resolution of labour disputes and signing of collective bargaining agreements.

In accordance with the Convention No. 87 which provides a liberal internal-organization for unions, the Law has given unions priority in the regulation of the establishment and organization of their activities. In this regard, numerous points will be regulated under bylaws of the unions.

The number of line of businesses is reduced and re-regulated pursuant to world-wide practices. The determination of line of businesses is no longer a prejudicial issue in the competence disputes. This change was done in order to overcome the problems faced by the unions in the determination of competence. Procedures of becoming a member to unions and resigning from the unions are no longer subjected to notarization. Moreover, the number of documents required in the establishment of unions is reduced and the declaration of the founders is taken as a basis. The restrictions made in the organisation of the activities of unions within the Law numbered 2821 were removed and the authority regarding the organisation of the activities is left to the organs of the unions or to their bylaws.

The law re-regulates the free collective bargaining regime and the right to conclude collective bargaining agreements, on the basis of a free and democratic society pursuant to the reaction given to international norms by the Turkish business life. In this section, new regulations with respect to collective bargaining regime are brought, especially concerning the resolution of labour disputes. While regulating these issues, ILO Convention No.87 and 98 and the norms of the European Union are taken into consideration. In the preparation of the Law, demands of the parties, judicial precedents and criticisms in the doctrine were taken into account as well. Therefore, in this section of the Law, substantial amendments are made at the right of concluding collective bargaining agreement, strike and lock-out. The group collective bargaining agreement, which had found an application area with the case law before, is defined in the new Law and its scope of application is widened. Therefore, now, it is possible to sign collective bargaining agreement with more than one party in a line of business. The matter of multiple collective bargaining agreements arising with the transferring of a workplace to another employer, that occupied the judiciary mostly, is re-regulated. This issue was regulated in order to resolve the problems in determining the agreement which shall apply in cases where more than one collective bargaining agreement emerges.

Under this purpose, the line of business threshold, which continuously brought Turkey to the agenda of the ILO, is decreased to 3%. The principle requiring for more than half of the employees of a workplace to be member to the union is preserved, however, with respect to enterprises, the threshold is decreased to 40%. Besides, competence, negotiation and mediation process in the collective bargaining agreements is re-regulated.

With these new regulations, unions are foreseen as an active party in all the levels of collective bargaining. The ordinary mediation phase, which used to consist of three methods, is reduced to one. However, pursuant to the Law, the parties can still resort to voluntary reconciliation. The use of voluntary reconciliation and mediation has replaced the private arbitrator mechanism, which was not used frequently, even though was part of Turkish law. Thus, workload of the High Board of Arbitration is reduced.

The matter of strike and lock-out, which was subject to the intervention of the government frequently, is re-regulated. The lawful strike and lock-out is re-defined in accordance with the Constitutional amendments of 2010. The prohibition of strike is restricted. Prohibitions of strike and lock-out are restricted by the essential public services showing vital nature. With this Law, union rights and freedoms, free collective bargaining right and the resolution of the labour disputes are re-regulated in compliance with the universal principles.


Law No. 6356 was prepared in accordance with the norms set forth by the European Union and The International Labour Organization and in consideration of the structural problems of working life, as well as criticisms in the doctrine. It abrogated Trade Union Law No. 2821 and Collective Bargaining, Strike and Lock-out Law No. 2822. The Law aims to regulate activities of the employee and employer's unions and confederations and it also aims to determine issues related to collective labour agreements. The Law provides the establishment principles, the organs, the revenues and auditing principles of the employee and employer's unions and confederations, sets provisions regarding the membership to these organizations, provisions about the activities of these union organizations and general principles of collective bargaining agreement and strike and lock out; the running of confederations and designates the issues related to collective labour agreements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions