IKEA provides solution which would allow all IKEA Richmond employees to return to work prior to Christmas, union rejects it

RICHMOND, BC, Dec. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - In another attempt to put an end to the on-going strike at its Richmond location, yesterday, IKEA's Global Head of Labour Relations and IKEA Canada's Senior Vice President met with the President of Teamsters' Local 213. IKEA suggested a solution during the meeting which would have allowed all IKEA Richmond employees to return to work under the terms and conditions of the expired agreement, while the parties resume negotiations over the next six months. 

This was in direct response to the UNI Global and ITF report that was released on December 12th, recommending that these measures be taken. Despite this, the Teamsters have initially refused this suggestion as it meant that the 35 employees they expelled from union membership would be allowed to also continue working during the negotiations. The intent of the interim proposal was to allow both parties to achieve a renewed collective agreement that addresses the store's operational concerns while minimizing the ongoing impact to IKEA Richmond employees.

It was IKEA's desire to have all of the employees return to work prior to Christmas.  This is why IKEA met with the Teamsters four times during the month of December.  It is also why IKEA made today's suggestion.  While IKEA is very disappointed with today's discussions, the company is hopeful that over the next few days/weeks, the Teamsters' will reconsider this option. 

Throughout this dispute, IKEA has demonstrated their willingness to continue to bargain in good faith and to address many of the union's key expressed concerns, including benefits eligibility, guaranteed hours and eliminating the two tier wage system. During today's discussions IKEA also expressed an openness to have members of both IKEA and the union's global organizations be involved in the bargaining process going forward.  The last offer in December included:

  • Wage increases for all employees
  • 3% guaranteed, annual increases, for every year of the agreement
  • 1.5% annual performance based incentives
  • 8-10% increases on all entry level wages
  • Elimination of the two tier wage system, (an expressed concern of union at the start of the strike)
  • The same benefit eligibility as under the expired collective agreement, (another expressed union concern)

The Union rejected this proposal on December 5, 2013.  Despite that, IKEA met again with the union to try to move forward.  The operational concerns under the expired collective agreement still need to be addressed, but IKEA was prepared to return employees to work under the old agreement while the issues were being resolved.

IKEA continues to be open to returning to the bargaining table at any time with the union. However, after having four fair and generous offers rejected, IKEA believes that at this time, it is the union's responsibility to return to the table with proposed solutions. It is not acceptable that any employee should be fired/terminated from their job for returning to work or because the Union disagrees with their decision.  The Union's position is against IKEA's global values and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms values.  IKEA is not prepared to terminate employees for exercising a legal right to work in their own job. IKEA has encouraged the union to reconsider their position in order to allow all employees the opportunity to return to work prior to Christmas.

About IKEA Canada

IKEA is a leading home furnishings retailer with 342 stores in 42 countries worldwide, which are visited by 776 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores which are visited by over 25 million people every year. Last year the IKEA.com websites attracted 1.1 billion visitors. Founded in 1943, IKEA's business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca.

SOURCE IKEA Canada

For further information: For more information, please contact: Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick, Corporate Communications Manager, IKEA Canada, Madeleine.lowenborg-frick@ikea.com, 905-637-9440 x6378