IKEA accused of opposing union activities
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In Sweden and Northern Europe, IKEA is often described a model workplace. But in other parts of the world, the furnishings giant is criticised for opposing unions. At the moment, there is a dispute in Canada where the workers have had no work and no wages for more than seven months.

It was when the CBA expired about a year ago that a large majority of the employees at an IKEA store in Richmond, Canada refused to sign the new agreement. 

- IKEA locked out the workers from their workplace because they wouldn't sign the new agreement. This action is something I've never heard of in Europe, says Alke Boessiger, from UNI Global Union, which has been leading the negotiations globally with IKEA. 

IKEA refers to a statement from the Canadian equivalent of the labour court which maintains that the workers are on strike. And according to IKEA, the company had attempted to meet the union's demands.

- we have presented a number of proposals which unfortunately have not been accepted by the union, says Josefin Thorell, responsible for media relations at the IKEA group. 

But according to Alke Boessiger, IKEA has been bad at following its own principles on good worker rights in countries such as the USA and Canada.

- It seems the local management in countries such as Canada are allowed to get away with much more than they would be allowed to in other countries.

Josefin Thorell claims it is important that the company adapts it's activities to the country in which the stores are located. 

- IKEA is a very de-centralised organisation and our starting point is always the laws and regulations which apply in the country where we are active. Unions, for example, work differently in different countries, and therefore we have decided that relations with unions take place locally. It also very clear that all those who work at IKEA shall have the right be active in the union.

But even in this regard, IKEA failed. IKEA Turkey was recently severely criticised by the unions because of actively worked to prevent workers from being involved in a union. Bribes, threats and reprisals have been used to prevent involvement in unions. Action which IKEA at global level has denounced. 

- It is very important to learn from the mistakes which led to what has happened in Turkey, for example. It can be important to prevent this happening again in other countries, says Josefin Thorell. 

But Alke Boessiger at Uni thinks that IKEA can be better at preventing scandals such as the one in Turkey before they even happen.

- my experience is that IKEA only tackles a problem when it occurs. If they hear nothing then they assume everything is OK. 

Lars-Anders Häggström, president of the commercial workers union (Handels) thinks that IKEA should be better in treating all employees equally.

- in Sweden IKEA has normal relations with the union. It is terrible that this is not the case in other parts of the world. The company emphasises that it is a Swedish company where even the meatballs have to be the same everywhere, so it surely should be able to have a common personnel policy. 

Haber tarihi: 15/01/2014 Görüntülenme: 3809
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