Freedom of association is among the fundamental rights of citizens. Every citizen can become a member of and operate in any organization that will defend his rights and interests, without prior permission, for his rights and interests.
The only organization that protects the economic and social rights and interests of the workers and has the right to sign a collective agreement by bargaining with the employer/capital is the union. Trade unions are legal organizations established by workers. Unions are open to all workers regardless of their nationality, creed, nationality or opinion. The union is authorized in the workplace and when it signs a collective agreement, all members benefit from the rights and benefits provided without any discrimination. In this sense, unions are integrative institutions, they give life to the principles of unity-togetherness-solidarity.
Freedom of association is guaranteed by the constitution and related laws. In addition, freedom of association is counted among the fundamental rights in the ILO (International Labor Organization) Conventions signed by Turkey and which remain valid in domestic law. Below are examples of related items.
Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions to protect their own interests.
T.R. Article 51 of the Constitution:
Employees and employers have the right to establish unions and higher organizations, to freely join and withdraw from membership without prior permission, in order to protect and develop the economic and social rights and interests of their members in their labor relations. No one may be compelled to join or leave a union.
TRADE UNION AND COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT LAW No. 6356
ARTICLE 17 – (1) Those who have completed the age of fifteen and are considered workers according to the provisions of this Law may become members of trade unions.
(3) It is free to become a member of a union. No one can be compelled to join or not to join a union.
ARTICLE 25 – (1) Recruitment of workers; It cannot be made conditional on joining or not joining a certain union, continuing or withdrawing from a certain union, or being or not being a member of any union.
(2) The employer cannot make any distinction between workers who are members of a union and workers who are not members of a union or workers who are members of separate unions in terms of working conditions or termination of employment. The provisions of the collective bargaining agreement are reserved for wages, bonuses, premiums and social assistance related to money.
(3) Workers cannot be dismissed or subjected to different treatment because they are members of a union or not, participate in the activities of workers’ organizations outside working hours or with the employer’s permission, or engage in union activities.
(4) In case the employer violates the above paragraphs except for termination, union compensation shall be awarded, not less than one year’s wage of the worker.
ILO Convention No. 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize
Article 2: Employees and employers have the right to establish organizations of their choice without prior permission, without any discrimination, and to become a member of these organizations only on condition that they comply with their statutes.