Top court rules gov’t postponement of union strike was a ‘violation of rights’
ANKARA – Cihan News AgencyTurkey’s top court has ruled the government’s decision to postpone a strike by Turkey’s largest glassmaking company, Şişecam, on grounds it had disrupted “public health and national security” was a violation of its rights.
The Constitutional Court decided the Şişecam workers’ rights had been violated when their strike attempt was postponed by a cabinet decree in the summer of 2014. “The strike postponement rule was not rested upon a compulsory social need and was not necessary in a democratic society,” the top court said.
Around 5,800 workers from ten Şişecam plants walked away from their jobs on the morning of June 20, 2014, when the Kristal-İş Union could not come to an agreement on wages for 2014 and an improvement of their rights with the Glass Employers Union.
The company had said it was only ready to make half of the 23 percent wage increase demanded by the workers and members of Kristal-İş.
In a cabinet decree published in the Official Gazette on June 27, 2014, the government ruled by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) decided for the postponement of the strike for 60 days.
“The cabinet meeting on June 25, 2014, has decided to postpone the strike organized by the Kristal-İş union at some of the factories connected to Şişecam for 60 days… as it is considered disruptive of public health and national security,” the decision had read.
The Kristal-İş Union had filed a lawsuit at the Council of State for a stay of execution on the postponement decision, which was rejected by the court.
The union later submitted an individual application to the Constitutional Court about the decision. The top court anonymously reached a verdict that postponing a strike on grounds of “national security” was a breach of union rights.
The Constitutional Court said it reached the decision as “the strike postponement rule was not rested upon a compulsory social need and was not necessary in a democratic society,” adding the right to unions was guaranteed under Article 51 of the constitution.
The decision will also be sent to the chamber at the Council of State, which had given the rejection decision, the Constitutional Court said in its ruling.
A lawmaker from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Hurşit Güneş, had proposed a motion to parliament where the postponement of strikes could only be applied in emergency situations.