Trade union repression at IKEA factory in Srpska
The BWI “IKEA Workers’ Caravan of Stories” for this year begins with the alarming story of trade union repression at the Nova DIPO company, an IKEA supplier in Gornji Podgradci, Republic of Srpska.
Last January, all members of the newly-established union, including members of its union committee, were dismissed by the company. This was after the company refused to pay the workers their paid premiums and contributions to social funds for the last two years, making their summary dismissals more difficult to manage.
Union president Miodrag Jokić was the only one not dismissed due to legal restrictions. However, he was forced to go on an annual leave. His annual leave expires this month, and according to law, he has to be accepted back to work.
The latest assault on trade union rights at Nova DIPO forced many employees to leave the union, with the exemption of 40 workers.
The company terminated the workers in response to their decision to form a union to fight for their rights. In a story that they have shared with BWI last year, their attempt to form a union 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.
Last year, BWI urged the company to respect and recognise its workers’ trade union rights. In a letter sent to Nova DIPO Company on 17 September 2020, BWI Global Director for Wood and Forestry Coen van der Veer raised the company’s violations of freedom of association and poor working conditions. He also asked the company to allow the elected members of the trade union committee to continue with their work, talk to their colleagues and start collective bargaining negotiations.
The latest developments in the company demonstrate the need to strengthen links among unions in different IKEA factories to monitor and ensure the full recognition of trade union rights.
BWI is closely following the case at Nova DIPO and will provide the necessary support to trade union members.
The “IKEA Workers’ Caravan of Stories” is a BWI campaign that aims to enable IKEA workers from different countries to share with one another their working lives and experiences.