UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance launches with call for union rights in Turkey

Wednesday 07 March 2012, 11am

  • Delegates from 20 trade unions and 14 countries launch UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance in Istanbul
  • UNI IKEA Global Alliance supports Turkish workers fighting for union recognition and representation
  • UNI to release brief on IKEA management practices around the world at a press conference on Thursday in Istanbul

7 March 2011, Istanbul, Turkey — IKEA workers and trade union leaders from around the world launched the UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance by comparing their experiences of working conditions in IKEA workplaces in different countries and planning a coordinated global strategy aimed at ensuring good working conditions for all workers at IKEA workplaces across the globe.

Delegates from 20 trade unions and 14 countries from across the globe are meeting in Turkey this week to formulate the global plan to achieve union rights and respect for all IKEA workers.

The unions chose Istanbul as the venue for the launch of the UNI Global Alliance as a demonstration of solidarity with their Turkish colleagues at IKEA who are currently engaged in the struggle for recognition as members of their union, Koop-Is Sendikasi. On 29 February IKEA Turkey, which is operated by Turkish franchise firm Mapa, fired a worker who was a union member and was active in the Koop-Is organising drive.

The Turkish union also reports that local management is pressuring and threatening workers who had arranged their leave to attend the alliance meeting.

Turkish union Koop-Is President Eyup Alemdar said on Tuesday that the international solidarity support from other IKEA unions is vital to their struggle.

“All IKEA workers wear the same uniform everywhere there are IKEA stores,” Alemdar said. “They sell the same products in all the stores and they serve the same Swedish meatballs. Our problems, expectations and goals are also common. We have no other option but to join our forces together and cooperate.”

IKEA workers in Turkey are joining Koop-Is Sendikasi despite opposition from management there. The UNI IKEA Global Union Alliance is supporting their fight for recognition and collective bargaining rights.

“We are here because we want a good global standard for all IKEA workplaces, including Turkey,” said Alke Boessiger, Head of UNI Commerce Global Union. “We want to work with IKEA management to promote best practices globally and to eradicate bad practices that still exist.”

Workers are sharing their stories by relaying their personal experiences of the working conditions in their IKEA workplace.  The stories that were shared encompassed both positive stories depicting respect for union rights as well as reports of anti-union activity and health and safety violations in some IKEA locations.

The alliance will release a brief on IKEA management practices in countries around the world at a press conference on Thursday.

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