IKEA employees launch "we stay" challenge

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IKEA employees launch "we stay" challenge
IKEA employees launch "we stay" challenge
6 July, 14:34EconomyPhoto: retail-loyalty.org
A number of employees of IKEA enterprises and stores in Russia refuse to sign a dismissal agreement. The workers want to force the company to conclude a collective agreement that will fix the working conditions and will be binding on the new owner.

Alexander Dybin

As Alexander Illarionov , organizer of the timber industry trade union, told Novye Izvestia, this week, conversations began with employees of IKEA furniture factories in Tikhvin, Vyatka and Novgorod. People are offered compensation of 7-8 salaries and dismissal from September. But the union believes that people can keep their jobs if they refuse the deal. IKEA has already announced its desire to sell factories and curtail the work of stores. If the workers achieve the signing of a collective agreement, which will also be valid for the new owner.

“The company operates within the law, but still there are questions,” says Alexander Illarionov, “for example, they call people out of idle time and ask them to immediately bring the form in order to turn it in. We explain that the worker is obliged to appear for the interview, but he is not obliged to sign anything, it should be his decision. We conducted surveys in groups. 43-44 percent of factory workers would like to keep their jobs and leave everything as it is. 27% were in favor of seeking much more compensation. 13-14% are ready to leave on IKEA terms. We see it as our task to keep employment. Yes, the company is leaving, but over the years it has made good money, and people still have occupational diseases and injuries. Therefore, it is necessary to knock out a collective agreement and maintain good conditions. I note that in the vast majority of countries IKEA has collective agreements that have been in effect for decades, but every time in a new country they forget about it.”

According to the interlocutor, the difficulty is that no one knows exactly how much they are going to cut at IKEA factories. The figure was 50%. For an enterprise in Tikhvin, Leningrad Region, this is about 500 people. Members of the union launched a challenge on their social networks, posting stories of people who refused compensation money and decided to seek to save jobs.

“With stores, the situation is more complicated, there are alarm bells,” says Alexander Illarionov, “for example, some employees are asked to write explanations for exceeding a certain discount limit during a rush sale last week. People need to be explained why they bought so many goods during this frenzy. In addition, attention is drawn to the thoughtfulness of actions, as if everything had been prepared for a long time. In all conversations, regardless of the regions and the store or factory, the last phrase of the management is “there will be no second chance”, they say, take the money and leave, they will not offer anything else.

Recall that the Swedish company IKEA announced its withdrawal from Russia. Four furniture factories will be sold, shops will be closed. IKEA announced a sale of leftovers: for several days, goods were available only to employees, at which time there was a rush demand. On July 5, an on-line sale for everyone was supposed to start, but there was a failure on the company's website, due to which no one could buy anything. As Novye Izvestia found out earlier, Ingka, owned by IKEA, intends to retain the network of Mega shopping centers operating in major Russian cities.

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