BC Labour holds rally to support locked-out IKEA workers as they mark one year on the picket line

Richmond BC-Over a hundred supporters of the locked-out workers of IKEA Richmond gathered outside the store today to demand IKEA settle the lockout.

On May 13, 2013, IKEA Richmond locked out its workers after the Teamsters members working in the store rejected the company’s offer unanimously. Teamsters 213, which represents the workers, continues to press the company for a negotiated contract settlement.

IKEA Richmond has demanded the workers: take concessions in pay of up to $6 per hour, give up certain benefits, and accept a reduction in late-night work premiums.

Tuesday, May 13th marks one full year of IKEA workers on the picket line outside IKEA Richmond, and this dispute has been quite a journey. In this past year, workers have had to deal with unfair employer tactics, a lack of intent to bargain in good faith on the part of the employer, and all sorts of weather conditions on the picket line.

“It is disgraceful that IKEA is seeking to reduce its workers’ wages when it made 3.3 billion Euros in profit last year,” said Jim Sinclair. “These are hard-working members of our community and they want to get back to work, but IKEA has locked them out for over a year.”

The B.C. Federation of Labour, representing more than 500,000 workers across the province, has supported these workers through a “do not shop IKEA” campaign and hosting an international inquiry last November into IKEA’s practices.

“These people have families at home. They are good, hard workers who are having the rug pulled out from under them by a giant company that just doesn’t care about doing the right thing,” said Anita Dawson, spokesperson for Teamsters. ”I worked there for twelve years and I’ve never seen this side of the company before. It’s like they sold out on the values the brand was built on.”