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Łódź nurses trial comes to an end

The case brought by three nurses from Łódź, who had been dismissed for organising an allegedly illegal strike, has been completed. On appeal, the Circuit Court in Łódź upheld the decision of the first-instance court ordering re-employment of the nurses.

The nurses strike in the N. Barlicki Teaching Hospital in Łódź began in early September 2008 and lasted for eleven days. Short before reaching a compromise with the striking personnel the hospital administration found the strike action to be unlawful. Administrators reported their suspicions of a crime consisting in organising a strike action in violation of the statutory provisions on collective disputes resolution.

In April 2009 the prosecution service brought an indictment against the nurses who were leading the strike. Subsequently, the head of the hospital terminated their employment contracts without notice, arguing that by organising the strike action nurses committed a gross breach of employee’s duties. In April 2011 nurses were finally acquitted of criminal charges.

The dismissed nurses filed a suit against the N. Barlicki Teaching Hospital. The District Court for Łódź Śródmieście, the court which heard the case in first instance, ordered their re-employment and awarded them an adequate compensation to be paid by the hospital. The Court found, among other things, that nurses exercised due care while organising the strike action.

The Hospital appealed against the District Court’s decision challenging a whole range of factual findings on which the first-instance ruling was based. The disputed facts included such issues as the claimants’ having been granted trade union protection, the legality of the strike action and the claimants’ argument that the hospital exceeded the statutory time limit prescribed for terminating the employment contract without notice.

In its ruling of 21 February 2012 the Circuit Court in Łódź upheld the decision of the District Court. In the oral justification of the judgement Circuit Court Judge Magdalena Lisowska pointed out, among other things, that the defendant overstepped the time limit prescribed for terminating the employment contract without notice.


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