Press Release No: Plenary Assembly 7/21

Press Release concerning the Decision Annulling the Provision Precluding Workers, Non-members of the Contracting Labour Union, to Benefit from the Provisions of the Collective Labour Agreement

The Constitutional Court, at its session dated 30 December 2020, found unconstitutional and annulled the fourth sentence of Article 39 § 4 of the Law no. 6356 on Labour Unions and Collective Labour Agreements (file no. E.2020/57).

Contested Provision

The contested provision stipulates that the requests to benefit from the collective labour agreement before the date of signature shall become effective by this date.

Ground for the Request for Annulment

It was maintained in brief that the contested provision was unconstitutional in that it stipulated the effective date of the request for benefiting from the collective labour agreement for workers, non-members of the labour union, as the date of signature of the collective labour agreement, which thus forced the workers to be a member of the labour union concluding the collective labour agreement.

The Court’s Assessment

Workers who are members of the contracting labour union may benefit from the financial provisions of the agreement if they pay membership fees without a request being needed, while non-members may do so by lodging a request as well as paying the relevant dues received from the non-member workers. However, the contested provision precludes the payment of such dues by the workers, who are not members of the union, pending the processes pertaining to the preparation, negotiation and bargaining of the collective labour agreement. It is clear that the provision has consequences in favour of the workers who are already members of the contracting union by the date of its signature, thereby granting an advantage to the said union vis-à-vis the others in the race of unionisation. Such a situation may impair the competition among the unions and hence the pluralism.

It is obvious that exemption of the workers, who are not members of the contracting union but indeed fulfil the conditions to avail of the agreement, from the provisions of the collective labour agreement will urge the workers in this situation to become a member of the union.

The contested provision upsets the balance between the strong union and the right to collective agreement by precluding the workers, non-members of the contracting union, from becoming retrospectively entitled to the financial provisions of the collective labour agreement due to the prolongation of the collective negotiation and bargaining process.

Pursuant to Article 13 of the Constitution, any restriction on the rights to union and collective bargaining shall not be contrary to the requirements of the democratic order of the society. It has therefore been understood that the restriction imposed by the contested provision does not correspond to a social need within the scope of Articles 51 and 53 of the Constitution but, on the contrary, undermines the pluralism that should exist in a democratic society, and unfairly distorts the competition among the unions, in favour of the contracting union.

Consequently, the contested provision has been found unconstitutional and therefore annulled.

This press release prepared by the General Secretariat intends to inform the public and has no binding effect.