Top Turkish court finds rights violation in dismissal of worker resisting ministerial strike ban

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that a worker had his rights violated after he was fired for participating in a slowdown strike amid a 2015 ministerial decision banning the strike of leading labor union Birleşik Metal-İş.

Birleşik Metal-İş workers are seen holding a banner that reads 'Get your hands off our labor, Our union right can't be banned.'

Duvar English

The Turkish Constitutional Court has found rights violation in the case of a worker who was fired for participating in a strike in 2015.

The top court ruled a retrial of the case and ordered the authorities to pay 18,000 liras in compensation to the worker.

In January 2015, the United Metal Workers’ Union (Birleşik Metal-İş) took a decision to go on strike in 38 factories over disagreement in collective bargaining negotiations. In return, with a decision published in the Official Gazetette on Jan. 30, 2015, the ministerial cabinet banned the strike of the union for 60 days. The decision signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan argued that the strike “had a characteristic of damaging national security.”

Workers did not abide by the strike ban and launched a slowdown with the union’s decision. The management of one of the factories then fired 30 workers on the grounds of “starting work late, slowing down work and launching an illegal strike.”

Worker Muharrem Çimen launched a lawsuit to be reinstated to his job and to be given compensation. The Eskişehir 1st Labor Court ruled for Çimen’s reinstatement to work but declined the compensation demand.

The case was then taken to the Court of Cassation, the highest court of appeals, which rejected Çimen’s case on the grounds that the “action was illegal.”

Çimen this time took his case to the Constitutional Court which ruled that the Constitution’s 51st Article securing union right was violated.