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10. Trade Unions and Employers Associations

Employment Law Overview Türkiye
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Türkiye

10. Trade Unions and Employers Associations

Brief Description of Employees’ and Employers’ Associations

In the Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements Act No 6356, the union is defined as: “Organizations with legal personality formed by at least 7 employees or employers to work in a line of business in order to protect and develop the common economic and social rights and interests of workers or employers in their labor relations.” As can be understood from the definition, no distinction has been made between the employees’ union and the employer’s union.

Rights and Importance of Trade Unions

In the Trade Unions and Collective Labour Agreements Act No 6356, the union is defined as: “Organizations with legal personality formed by at least 7 employees or employers to work in a line of business in order to protect and develop the common economic and social rights and interests of workers or employers in their labor relations.” As can be understood from the definition, no distinction has been made between the employees’ union and the employer’s union.

Rights and Importance of Trade Unions

Trade unions are considered to be important as they are the basis of freedom of association, which is one of the basic human rights. Herewith, trade unions aim to protect and develop the economic and social rights of employees.

The rights of unions can be sorted as below:

  • Making a collective bargaining agreement,
  • Deciding on strike or lockout,
  • Organizing vocational training, courses, and conferences to increase the knowledge of its members, to establish cultural facilities,
  • Assisting in the establishment of mutual aid funds for social security or to give credit to the established funds.

In addition, the trial period registration added to the employment contract can be extended up to 4 months with a collective bargaining agreement. Also, whether or not to work on national and public holidays is also determined by the collective bargaining agreement.

Types of Representation

1. Number of Representatives

The union whose authority to conclude a collective bargaining agreement has been finalized; the number of workers in the workplace

  • 2 if up to 50,
  • Between 51 and 100, at most 2,
  • Between 101 and 500, at most 3,
  • Between 501 and 1000, at most 4,
  • Between 1001 and 2000, at most 6,
  • If more than 2000, at most 8

appoints the workplace union representative among the members working at the workplace and informs the employer of their identities within 15 days.

2. Appointment of Representatives

The union workplace representative is appointed by the union whose authority has been finalized to conclude a collective bargaining agreement. One of the above may be appointed as the chief representative. The duties of the representatives  continuefor the duration of the union’s authority. If there is a provision in the union statute regarding the election of the workplace union representative, the elected member is appointed as the representative.

3. Tasks and Obligations of Representatives

The union workplace representative is appointed by the union whose authority has been finalized to conclude a collective bargaining agreement. One of the above may be appointed as the chief representative. The duties of the representatives  continuefor the duration of the union’s authority. If there is a provision in the union statute regarding the election of the workplace union representative, the elected member is appointed as the representative.

4. Employees’ Representation in Management

In practice, in collective bargaining agreements, representatives are mostly allowed to perform their duties during business hours, under the name of “representative leave”. In fact, in workplaces where the number of representatives is high, the chief representative is considered to be on leave for almost the whole day. However, it continues to receive salary from the employer. In other words, he/she is engaged in union activity while he/she receives salary from the employer.

Other Types of Employee Representative Bodies

In practice in Turkey, it is not seen that it is divided into different bodies in this way. However, if the committees as exampled above are included within the collective bargaining agreements, then employee representative bodies within a workplace can be established.

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