6 November 2013 – An international fact-finding team has arrived in Canada to examine an ongoing dispute at Swedish retail giant IKEA’s Richmond, British Columbia, store. The team is tasked with investigating the situation at the store, where 350 workers have been locked out by the company, and then reporting its findings back to a Swedish and international audience.
The four strong team is visiting Richmond and Vancouver, where it will interview workers, meet with labour market experts and hold a public commission of inquiry tomorrow, Thursday 7 November at 14:00. Media are invited to attend. Please come to the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC (www.sfu.ca/mecs/wosk+dialogue+centre/location.html). The event will feature the mission members, workers’ representatives, community leaders and experts such as British Columbia Federation of Labour president Jim Sinclair.
The four strong fact-finding team is led by Peter Lövkvist, federation secretary of the Nordic Transport Workers’ Federation (NTF), which represents 400, 000 transport workers across the Nordic countries.
Lövkvist commented: “It is now over 180 days since workers at the Richmond store, all of whom are members of Teamsters Local 213, were locked out by IKEA. We consider it extremely urgent that this situation is investigated both as a local matter and in relation to what it means for labour relations throughout IKEA’s global operations. On completion of this mission we will then report our findings to regulators in Sweden and to all countries in which the company conducts business.”
The head of UNI Commerce, Alke Boessiger, added: “Despite UNI repeatedly urging IKEA’s global and national Canadian management to meet with the local union in Richmond, our demands have fallen on deaf ears. IKEA is a company with a global footprint and a global responsibility. If it fails to act in Richmond the consequences will be felt in Sweden and around the world. The systems they are trying to impose are unacceptable to Canadian unions and those across the globe.”
The fact-finding team comprises: Peter Lövkvist; Michael Toal, UNI Global Union commerce representative; Erin van der Maas, ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) strategic industrial project coordinator; and Tim Beaty, director of global strategies for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.