The individual application decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Türkiye ("Constitutional Court") numbered 2020/11279 ("Decision") was published in the Official Gazette dated 29 August 2023 and numbered 32294. The Constitutional Court ruled that the termination of the employees' employment agreements due to the work slowdown they initiated to protect their union rights constituted a violation of their union rights.
What does the Decision say?
In the Decision, the applicants applied to the Constitutional Court against the decision of the court of appeal, which reversed the reinstatement decision of the first instance court, claiming that their union rights were violated.
The Decision includes the following:
- The applicants stated that the employer tried to prevent unionization in the workplace and, that the employer assigned a unionized employee to a distant district to intimidate the employees, that the union initiated a work slowdown which continued for three days and that the employer terminated the employment agreements of the employees for this reason.
- The court of first instance ruled that the termination of the applicants' employment agreements was based on union related reasons.
- The court of appeal, which reversed the reinstatement decision of the first instance court, stated that the employees acted in violation of the principle of proportionality in pursuing their union rights and that the employer had a valid reason for terminating their employment agreements.
- The Constitutional Court determined that the work slowdown was carried out to prevent undermining the union's power in the workplace, that the work slowdown which lasted for three days was compensable in material terms, therefore the work slowdown did not go beyond the purpose of pursuing rights, and that the employer must endure this situation.
- In addition, the Constitutional Court ruled that the termination of employment agreements of employees who use their union rights is contrary to the principle of last resort of termination and underlined that the threat of termination may prevent the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms.
The effects of the Constitutional Court's Decision should be followed and considered, especially by employers, for the protection of union rights.
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