Turquía - Victory for Sinter Metal workers – but justice too slow for many (2012)

Workers fired for joining the Turkish metal union affiliated with the International Metal Workers’ Federation (IMF), Birlesik Metal-IS, finally won justice after a three year, bitter and intense struggle. In December, Turkey’s Supreme Court handed down its final ruling, concluding that Sinter Metal, a global parts manufacturer, fired workers for joining the Birlesik Metal-IS. The struggle began in December 2008 when all 378 Sinter Metal blue collar workers, members of Birlesik Metal-Is were illegally dismissed. Weeks later, in January 2009, an additional 16 were dismissed.

The workers and their union launched a legal case for their reinstatement and a call for international global action, with the support of the IMF and the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF). In December 2010, a court found that the workers were dismissed not for economic reasons but for their trade union membership and Sinter Metal was ordered to reinstate them, or pay 16 months salary in compensation.

The company appealed. In December 2011, the Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the local court. Time had taken its toll however, as in the intervening period, 104 of the original 291 reinstatement cases had dropped out, leaving a remaining 187 workers.

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