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Ikea slammed over anti-union bullying in Turkey

Ikea slammed over anti-union bullying in Turkey

Published: 07 Sep 2012 12:28 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Sep 2012 12:28 GMT+02:00

Swedish unions have blasted furniture giant Ikea following reports that workers at Ikea stores in Turkey have been threatened and harassed over union membership.

"Ikea's actions in Turkey are upsetting. During my visit there I heard how employees were harassed and threatened for being members of a union. That is completely unacceptable," Lars-Anders Häggström, chair of Sweden's Commercial Employees' Union (Handels) said in a statement.

During a recent visit to Turkey, representatives from the union, together with counterparts from Swedish trade union group Unionen, heard how Ikea workers in Turkey had been threatened at the workplace.

The Swedish union reps were also told how Ikea company representatives reportedly visited the homes and families of Ikea workers in an effort to pressure them to leave the local union, Koop-Is.

Company representatives had also reportedly visited the homes and families of Ikea workers in an effort to pressure them to leave the union.

"Everyone has a right to organize a union in order to improve conditions at the workplace," said Häggström.

Members of the Koop-Is union are planning a demonstration to be held in Istanbul on September 8th in order to draw attention to the problem.

In conjunction with the reported anti-union behaviour of Ikea in Turkey, the Swedish unions renewed calls for the furniture retailer to sign a global labour rights deal that would support the right of Ikea workers to join a union and engage in collective wage negotiations.

A spokesperson for Ikea in Sweden refused to comment directly on the situation in Turkey, but emphasized that Ikea is "open" to a global labour agreement.

"Our workers are very important to us and we want them to be engaged and motived," she told The Local.

"We want everyone to be able to make the choice freely of whether they join a union or not."

She added that Ikea had "good" working relationships with unions in many places.

Ikea representatives in Turkey failed to respond to The Local's request for comment on the issue.

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

14:17 September 7, 2012 by azimuth
This is the price for the "cheap" IKEA furniture.. Alas...
16:13 September 7, 2012 by Carbarrister
Workers can't be permitted to chose whether or not to join a union. You must force them to and require the payment of union dues. It is only fair.
08:53 September 9, 2012 by sfk
Whenever I read or hear a news which states the abusive behavior of swedish business or kommun I also read a spokesperson for the company (i-e- Ikea or kommun in Sweden) refused to comment ( har avböjt att kommentera.). What a idiot spokeperson....
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