Global IKEA union network discusses ways to move forward

The Global IKEA Union Network held a meeting last 12 October wherein different trade unions discussed the situation of workers employed at IKEA factories and suppliers in different countries, its connection to global labour trends and ways to move forward. The meeting, which was the network’s third, gathered trade union leaders from IKEA factories and suppliers in Poland, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as representatives from Swedish unions. 

The trade unionists shared information and experiences on employment satiation at factories, wages and management’s commitment to union rights. From the exchange, it was clear that while that there are IKEA factories based in countries near one another, working conditions, wages and employment status vary—from companies that fully respect workers and trade union rights, to those that blatantly reject unions.  

The IKEA trade union leaders also observed that unions are stronger and have better leverage at the factory level if they have the support of national trade union centres. This was certainly true for the Polish trade unions which were successful in campaigning for workers’ rights and are now preparing to push for fairer wages. 

“Even as the pandemic forced many of us to change our lifestyles and ways of doing work, COVID-19 will never change our faith in workers’ solidarity. As our US comrades would always say, “an injury to one, is an injury to all. These meetings are important. They help us know each other situation, learn from each other’s experiences and best practices, and mobilise solidiarity,” BWI Global Director for Wood and Forestry Coen van der Veer said.