The Belgian Transport Union (BTB) and FNV Bondgenoten in the Netherlands claim that IKEA is bringing in cheap labour from eastern European countries to transport their products. The unions say that these workers have few rights, are paid far less than the going rate in Western Europe and are often forced to sleep in their trucks.
On 14 August, BTB organised actions at the Hognoul (Liège), Zaventem and Brussels IKEA stores in Belgium, distributing leaflets and asking customers to support the campaign. The following day, FNV Bondgenoten held picket lines at three IKEA stores in the Netherlands, and over 2, 100 customers showed their support by handing over signed statements backing the union at the check-out.
The unions have won global solidarity, too. Their actions were highlighted to 300 delegates at the road transport workers’ section conference during the ITF Congress last week. And the LabourStart IKEA campaign, launched on 12 August, has already attracted over 11, 000 messages of support.
Frank Moreels, BTB federal secretary & co-president, said: “Our action was very well received by IKEA customers and widely covered by Belgian national and regional media. We are not calling for a boycott of IKEA – we simply want them to take responsibility, talk to the unions and stop this social dumping. So far, talking to IKEA has got us nowhere.”
Edwin Atema, FNV Bondgenoten road transport campaigns leader, added: “We want to end the cat and mouse game between the unions and the transport companies doing the job – it is IKEA which is responsible for its policy of organising social dumping in local transport in Belgium and the Netherlands.”
To add your voice in support of the campaign, visit LabourStart