Establishing a workplace safety unit, canteen and disciplinary committee in Turkey

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Establishing a workplace health and safety unit in Turkey

According to Law No. 6331, a workplace in Turkey health and safety unit must be established in workplaces of a certain scale. This issue will be examined in detail in Chapter Five, Protection of the Material and Moral Assets of the Worker I. Protection of the Material Assets of the Worker (Occupational Health and Safety).

Opening of the Canteen

According to Article 115 of Law No. 4857, in workplace in Turkey employing two hundred and fifty or more workers, the employer may allocate space to consumption cooperatives to be established. As can be seen, the provision of the article does not carry a form of obligation, but an expression of possibility. Therefore, it can be said that there is no obligation to open a canteen.

Establishment of a disciplinary committee

Unlike the boards and units described above, there is no legal obligation to establish disciplinary boards. Therefore, it can be said that the establishment of disciplinary committees is voluntary. However, if the establishment of a disciplinary board is stipulated in the collective labour agreement, it becomes an obligation.

The disciplinary committee generally functions in terms of terminating the labour contracts of the workers or imposing disciplinary penalties on them. While fulfilling this function, it is also authorised to take statements, conduct examinations and investigations. When its functions and actions are evaluated, it becomes clear that with the establishment of the disciplinary board, the employer has transferred its rights such as terminating the labour contract and imposing penalties to the board. In the sense of this sentence, it is not possible to eliminate the employer’s right to terminate an employee’s employment contract or to impose a penalty on an employee, taking into account the legal consequences of the employer’s right to manage.

The existence of a disciplinary board decision shows that the decisions to terminate the employment contract or to impose disciplinary penalties are taken on the basis of equity. In the presence of the board, it is important for the judicial or administrative authorities whether a decision has been taken about the employee, and if so, whether it has been duly implemented.

Unless otherwise stipulated in the collective labour agreement, it is useful to pay attention to the following points about the establishment and functioning of disciplinary boards:

– Before the formation of the disciplinary committee, a disciplinary regulation should be prepared for the workplace in Turkey. In this regulation, the acts constituting an offense and the penalties to be applied should be included in detail.

– The membership structure of the disciplinary committee should also be regulated in the regulation, and working principles and decision-making processes should be defined.

– In the composition of the disciplinary boards, it must be ensured that workers’ representatives are present in equal weight. The election of workers’ representatives should be carried out by workers by secret ballot and open counting, substitute members should be elected as well as full members, election results should be announced and worker representative elections should be renewed at regular intervals.

– It should be ensured that the members representing the workers and the employer are working in the workplace in Turkey.

– The examinations and investigations carried out by the Board should be carried out in writing, the meetings should be recorded in minutes and the decisions taken should be communicated to the relevant persons in writing. It should be ensured that the Board has an incoming and outgoing document book and that the decisions taken are written in a decision book.