Sarah Hemingway helps workers in Turkey to succeed in the Supreme Court

Thursday 16 February 2012

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Sarah Hemingway monitored the case of the Metal Workers in Turkey who brought unfair dismissal claims against their employers, Sinter Metal Company, on grounds that their dismissal was motivated by anti-union discrimination. Her mission, organised by the International Metalworkers' Federation and the International Centre for Trade Union Rights, led to a report that was successfully used to put pressure on the judicial system to hear the case after it had been delayed a total of nine times. Judgment was finally received in favour of the claimants and they succeeded again when the company appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

Sarah Hemingway's report to the IMF and ICTUR was used to assist the three year struggle for justice for workers who were illegally fired for joining the Turkish Metalworkers' Union, Birlesik Metal-IS, and not dismissed for economic reasons as the company insisted. In a recent communication from the IMF it was noted that "the legal process was delayed a total of nine times and did not deliver a decision until an outside legal expert was brought in by the IMF to monitor the case. In December 2010, the company appealed the case to the Supreme Court. The original number of reinstatement cases filed was 291. Two years into the struggle, 104 dropped their cases, leaving a remaining 187 workers.

The company has been ordered to reinstate the workers or pay 12 months wages plus an additional 4 months wages for the judgment process. Under Turkish law, the legal process for a reinstatement case is supposed to last no more than two months. In practice, reinstatement cases can drag on anywhere from 2 to 5 years." For more information about the campaign click here.

Sarah Hemingway is a member of Garden Court Chambers International Advice and Litigaiton Team.

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