Press Release UNI: IKEA Turkey workers detail management’s anti‐union attacks
Friday 07 September 2012, 02pm
IKEA Turkey workers detail management’s anti-union attacks, including harassment of family members in their homes
• UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance calls on IKEA to honour its values, protect union rights at Turkish franchise
• UNI IKEA Alliance agrees mobilisation plan to urge IKEA to ensure fair play for Turkish union and to urge IKEA Turkey to sign a joint social dialogue agreement with Koop-Is
• IKEA workers and trade union leaders from around the world demand respect for worker rights at IKEA Turkey
• Turkish workers, Koop-Is to hold demonstration on September 8
- The UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance today launched a new mobilisation plan to support Turkish IKEA workers after IKEA’s Turkish franchisee Mapa went back on its promise of engaging in dialogue with union Koop-Is. Koop-Is is organising workers at all 5 IKEA stores in Turkey. Despite all efforts of the union efforts to engage the IKEA Turkey management, they have refused to recognise the union and sign a joint social dialogue protocol, which would allow workers to join the union without fear of reprisals from the company.
Reports are emerging that the company has also engaged in a campaign to dissuade people from joining the union or encourage those who had already joined the union to leave, including intimidating and threatening their family members at home.
“We are demanding that IKEA global management intervene immediately to stop this harassment of workers and their families,” said Head of UNI Commerce Alke Boessiger. “It is completely unacceptable that IKEA management in Turkey would monitor or intervene in their employees’ family life and it raises a troubling spectre of the company’s attitude towards workers’ privacy and personal rights.”
On May 5 IKEA Mapa management informed workers in a letter that the company respected their right to join a union and that they were committed to social dialogue and social peace. But instead IKEA Mapa management refuses to engage with the union and has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation in the company.
Along with threatening visits to their homes, Turkish IKEA workers have reported threats and
harassment in the workplace. Some workers have been fired after management suspected they were union members.
Workers have said that local managers in IKEA have taken workers to a notary to ensure they will disaffiliate from the union.
A former IKEA Turkey worker and union organiser described the increasing pressure he and other colleagues faced when IKEA Turkey managers found out about the union organising drive.
“The employer started putting different kinds of pressure on us, including threatening us and telling us not to join the union or to resign from the union,” the worker said. “Managers said if we didn’t resign from the union we would be dismissed without compensation and, if we fought the dismissal, our court case would last two to three years and we would suffer during that period. Some union members were forced to work in difficult departments or on bad shifts. Because of this, many union members quit their jobs.”
The UNI IKEA Alliance is standing in solidarity with the workers and the Alliance members around the world have agreed to take action in their home countries to show their support for their Turkish colleagues.
In a letter to IKEA Group CEO Mikael Ohlsson, the UNI IKEA Alliance says it stands “in full solidarity with its sisters and brothers at IKEA Turkey and their union Koop-Is in their just fight to fully exercise their right to join a union without fear of retaliation or recrimination. We will do whatever we can to support them.”
At a meeting with the UNI Alliance in Istanbul in March, IKEA Group Global Human Resources Manager Petra Hesser told the Alliance that IKEA is committed to upholding its universal values in all IKEA stores, including franchises. This includes the right of all IKEA workers to join the union of their choice without fear of retaliation and recrimination.
The UNI IKEA Global Alliance is calling on IKEA to stand by its values and ensure all employees have the right to join a union without fear.
The UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance members are UNI Commerce and its affiliated unions, including their union members at IKEA, shop stewards and union organisers from these unions.
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