IKEA workers’ unpaid overtime work in Bosnia and Herzegovina

BWI’s “IKEA Workers’ Caravan of Stories,” a campaign to enable IKEA workers in different countries to share with one another their working lives and experiences, has moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina to narrate the story of workers employed at Nova DIPO in Gornji Podgradci.

Workers interviewed by BWI said that the company, which currently employs 380 workers, produces furniture and parquet. They said that it was privatised in 2008 and in 2017, started supplying for IKEA.

The workers said that they suffer from grueling working conditions and poor occupational health and safety standards. They narrated how they are being required to work for 9-10 hours everyday without overtime pay amidst the company’s lack of commitment to provide transportation.

Workers also complained that they don’t have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE). One worker said that he used his own money to buy himself gloves to protect his hands while working.  

The use of old and defective second-hand machineries in the production process also raised concerns. Workers said that operating the said machines pose serious health and safety risks.

Additionally, they complained about the line managers’ abusive behavior to rank-and-file workers ranging from blackmail to sexual harassment. 

As a response, the workers said that they decided to form a union to fight for their rights. They said that this was met by harassment from the company management. They reported that some of their members were sent on paid leave, discriminated against, threatened with contract terminations and even physically harmed. 

They hoped that by telling their stories, fellow IKEA workers around the world will support them as they struggle to protect their rights and get full union recognition. “We urge workers in working in IKEA factories and suppliers in different parts of the world to join unions. Only by joining unions do we secure our rights as workers,” the workers said.