Global solidarity as unions at international ports support locked-out IKEA workers | National Union of Public and General Employees

Global solidarity as unions at international ports support locked-out IKEA workers

Dock workers held rallies at ports in Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Canada to support locked out IKEA workers. 

Washington (17 Dec. 2013) - In a global act of solidarity hundreds of dock workers at 10 ports around the globe are holding rallies to show their support for the 350 Teamsters who have been locked out from their jobs without pay for seven months at IKEA’s store in Richmond, British Columbia.

The dock workers, members of 11 unions that belong to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), carried banners that read “Dockers Solidarity with IKEA Workers/ITF.”

Dock workers held rallies at ports in Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Canada. To view photos from the rallies, visit IKEA Hurts Families.

IKEA holding workers hostage at Christmas time

“IKEA’s actions are inexcusable,” said ITF representative Peter Lahay.

“IKEA has put its workers on the street for seven months purely for retaliation. These workers exercised their legal right to vote down IKEA’s demands for a discriminatory wage system and cuts to family health care benefits. Now, IKEA is holding the workers hostage while they stand outside in the winter, at Christmas time.”

Fact-finding Commission presents findings in Sweden

Last month, an International Fact-Finding Commission formed by UNI Global Union and the ITF held hearings on the lockout. The Commission released their findings in a report, “How IKEA is Hurting Families: Report on the IKEA Lockout in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.” The report calls on IKEA to end the lockout and return to the bargaining table in good faith immediately.

Last week, a representative from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters joined a delegation of locked-out workers and international labor leaders who traveled to Sweden to call on IKEA to end the abuse of its workers and stop the lockout.

In Stockholm, the delegation provided the report to Lars-Anders Häggström, president of Handelsanställdas Förbund (Handels), the trade union representing workers at IKEA Sweden.

IKEA in Canada should adhere to companies own global standards

The report also calls on IKEA Canada to ensure its legal counsel follows IKEA’s own global standards. In 2010, IKEA changed its outside legal counsel to the anti-union law firm Fasken Martineau. IKEA workers and their representatives at Teamsters Local 213 in Vancouver, B.C., identify this change in legal counsel as one of the key drivers of the company’s new, divisive management approach to labor relations.

"IKEA has clearly violated its own code of conduct, as well as international labor standards," said Peter Lövkvist, general secretary of the Nordic Transport Federation and chair of the international fact-finding commission on the IKEA lockout in Richmond, B.C.. "Locking out and intimidating workers, and hiring lawyers with histories of attacking workers and unions - behavior I witnessed personally in Canada - none of this is acceptable. In Sweden, IKEA would never treat its workers this way or disobey international conventions on labor rights.”

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