Occupational accidents have been recently occupying the agenda
of our country. The reasons of them are usually unwariness,
unconsciousness, lack of inspection and lack of education. The
government, employers and employees, they all play important roles
in order to minimize those accidents and the losses arising there
When it comes to occupational safety, employees feel much more
comfortable in drawing the attention to any kind of deficiency in
the workplace, especially, if they are members of a union. In
unionised workplaces, occupational safety measures are taken more
easily, since the unionised employees are much more aware of their
rights. Unions generate strong inspection mechanisms in order to
establish occupational health and safety measures and have them
applied in the relevant workplaces. Hence, the unionisation rates
significantly affect the rate of occupational accidents. It is a
fact that the countries with very low rates of occupational
accidents are the ones with very high rates of unionisation. It
should also be noted that unions set a good example for
non-governmental organizations, which are sine qua non for
In Turkey, the Law on Unions and Collective Labour
Agreements1 ("Law") provides for
regulations regarding the unionisation and union activities at
workplaces. In October of this year, the Turkish Constitutional
Court decided to annual and suspend the execution of certain
provisions of that Law, which it deemed to be violating certain
What does the Constitutional Court Decision Say?
The annulled phrase is the one "excluding
termination" under Paragraph 4 of Article 25 of the Law,
providing for the payment of union compensation by the employers,
in case they act against the provisions of Law which protected the
freedom of union membership, is annulled. Therefore, upon entry of
the change in Law, employers shall pay compensations in case they
terminate employment agreements of the employees due to labour
Furthermore, Paragraph 6 of Article 60 of the Law was annulled
as well: the annulled provision provided that lock-out decision can
be applied in all parts of the workplace even if the strike
decision has been taken for one part of the workplace. Also the
strike decision was taken regarding the dispute related to
collective agreements. With the amendment of the Law, a lock-out
decision will only be applied to the part of workplace that has
taken the strike decision.
The provisions of the law which excluded certain service fields,
namely "banking" and "at public
transport", have also been amended to annul such
exclusions on the basis of conflict with the Turkish Constitution.
The amendment of the law will enter into force at the time of its
publication in the Official Gazette.
As a Result
Steps taken for the unionisation play an important role in the
advanced democracies and right provide occupational safety and
prevent occupational accidents in the workplaces. The above
summarized decision of the Constitutional Court is significant for
the labour peace and democracy, considering the unfortunate number
of occupational accidents.
1 "Law on Unions and Collective Labour Agreements;
dated October 18, 2012 and numbered 6356 and published in the
Official Gazette dated November 7, 2012 and numbered
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