The Turkish Constitutional Court annulled the provision of the Unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements Law No. 6356 (“Unions Law“) stipulating that the requests of employees who want to benefit from a collective bargaining agreement by paying solidarity fees before the signing of the agreement are only valid as of the date of signature of the agreement. The Turkish Constitutional Court stated that this provision is contrary to Articles 13, 51 and 53 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey (“Constitution“). The decision was published in the Official Gazette dated March 3, 2021. The decision is available online here (in Turkish). With this decision, employees who submit their requests to pay solidarity fees before the signing date of the collective bargaining agreement are allowed to benefit from provisions stipulating monetary benefits for the period before the signing date.
Collective bargaining agreements can include retroactive monetary benefits. Employees who are not members of the relevant union but want to benefit from the collective bargaining agreement by paying the solidarity fee could previously not benefit from the monetary benefits stipulated for the period before the signing date, even if they had submitted their requests before the signing date. Employees’ requests became effective as of the signing date. In this regard, it was not possible for employees working in the workplace during the collective negotiation and the bargaining process who submitted their claims in due course, paid solidarity fees, and who are not members of the union that is a party to the collective bargaining agreement to benefit from the provisions in the collective bargaining agreement granting monetary benefits (retroactively) for the period before the signing date.
The Constitutional Court decreed that this situation restricts employees’ negative union rights (namely the right to not become a member of a union) and right of collective bargaining agreement.
The Constitutional Court declared that due to the aforementioned reasons, the provision subject to the objection contravenes Articles 13, 51 and 53 of the Constitution and annulled the last sentence of the fourth paragraph of Article 39 of the Unions Law. As a result, employees who submit their requests to pay solidarity fees before the signing date of the collective bargaining agreement are now allowed to benefit from provisions stipulating monetary benefits for the period before the signing date.