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Ikea slammed over anti-union bullying in Turkey

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 slammed over anti-union bullying in Turkey

“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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IKEA

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price

In the run-up to what would in normal times be the festive season sales rush, Ikea has vowed to buy back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

Ikea will buy back your used furniture at up to half the price
Got any pieces of Ikea furniture at home? You may be able to get rid of it and get money back. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Ikea, the world's largest furniture chain, said Tuesday it would begin buying back used furniture from customers to resell – and pay up to 50 percent of the original price.

The “Buy Back Friday” scheme, timed to coincide with the “Black Friday” pre-Christmas retail frenzy, will run from November 24th and until December 3rd in 27 countries.

“Rather than buy things you don't need this Black Friday, we want to help customers give their furniture a second life instead of making an impulse buy,” said Stefan Vanoverbeke, deputy retail operations manager at Ingka Group, Ikea's parent company.

To address concerns its affordable, flat-pack products encourage overconsumption and waste, the Swedish company had previously said it would start renting and recycling furniture as part of an eco-drive.

Under its buyback scheme, the group said that “anything that can't be resold will be recycled or donated to community projects to help those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

“Some countries like Australia and Canada for example are currently testing different buyback services, but BuyBack Friday will be the first time that 27 countries do this together,” the statement added.

The Swedish giant employs over 217,000 people and has more than 50 outlets. Its annual turnover is around 40 billion euros ($46 billion).

The group did not specify how it would determine the price paid for second-hand furniture and customers will receive a voucher, not cash, for their products.  

As part of efforts to reduce waste, Ikea has already begun repairing and re-packaging products in every store that have been damaged in transit, as well as allowing customers to return products – including furniture – for resale or donation to charities.

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