Your actions in solidarity with IKEA workers and their sacked shop steward and convener, RICHIE VENTON, have put IKEA bosses on the run – keep chasing them!
IKEA have PARTIALLY retreated on their brutal plans, as implemented from 1st June – literally since the day their actions were exposed on the front page of the Daily Record, 28th August. That’s a partial victory for Richie’s steadfast, courageous defence of workers’ health; the solidarity of IKEA workers, who have threatened industrial action – and the massive solidarity from workers across the movement.
But we need to keep up and increase the pressure on the company that made £11.2billion profit in 2019 – much more needs to be won!
HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENED SO FAR:
From 1st June onwards, IKEA lumped Coronavirus absences in with all other forms of sickness. They withdrew payment of wages for COVID-19 sick absence. They penalised anyone in self-isolation or sick with Covid-19 with sick absence points. They automatically excluded anyone above the absence penalty points threshold from IKEA sick benefit, INCLUDING those suffering COVID-19 – forcing them to survive on £95 a week Statutory Sick Pay.
That’s what Richie Venton fought against – demanding full average wages and no absence penalty points.
On 28th August, the day the Daily Record front page blasted out the truth – IKEA removed absence penalty points from COVID-related absences – something Richie fought for, and got sacked for. They NOW say that from 1st September they will give “full pay” to COVID-sick workers – that’s a substantial climbdown, forced upon IKEA by the campaign.
But chaos reigns, with no clear answers whether that means FULL AVERAGE PAY for ALL workers – including those who are part-timers but normally work additional hours – or whether such workers will STILL be punished by only getting their lesser CONTRACT hours. IKEA still haven’t given a clear, straight answer to that.
After Richie Venton was silenced and then sacked, IKEA imposed MORE attacks on working conditions. Worst of all, a NEW sick absence policy, to be implemented on 1st September, which drastically reduces workers’ chances of getting IKEA sick benefit; massively increasing the numbers thrown into the poverty of reliance on £95 Statutory Sick Pay, and not a penny off IKEA.
And until this campaign forced them into a PARTIAL retreat, on 28th August (NOW treating Covid-19 absences separately) that policy was going to apply to ALL sick absences – Coronavirus included!
This vicious new sick absence policy removes company sick benefit for all non-Covid-19 illnesses after TWO OCCASIONS of being off sick IN A YEAR, or after 10 DAYS off in total over the YEAR. As winter sets in, and the physical and mental health consequences of lockdown let rip, that’s a recipe for disaster. It will drive many more IKEA workers into dragging themselves to work because they can’t afford to take time off to recover, on £95 – spreading illness to co-workers (and shoppers).
So there are STILL two key fights to be carried on:
- ABOLISH the terrible new sick absence policy imposed on 1st September – demand full average wages for ALL sick workers.
- REINSTATE RICHIE VENTON to his job and elected union position. If IKEA has been forced to cave in on some of the main issues he fought when it was being introduced in June, why is he still sacked? Why have he and his family been put through this? Why does he deserve to pay the price of losing his job for simply doing the right thing for those he represents?
We appeal to all reading this to STEP UP THE CAMPAIGN:
- DOUBLE the numbers signing the Petition by getting at least one other to sign, as well as yourself.
- DEMAND your MP sign the Early Day Motion #797 in Parliament. You can find your local MP here.
- BOYCOTT IKEA until they reinstate Richie Venton and pay full average wages to all sick workers.
Please keep SPREADING THE WORD – on social media, in your union, in your family, at work, in letters to the press. Your continued, extraordinary support will make IKEA LISTEN TO “THE MANY PEOPLE”!