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Hundreds of trade unionists demand Ikea reinstate sacked workplace rep

HUNDREDS of trade unionists have signed an open letter to Ikea demanding a sacked workplace representative be reinstated.

Richie Venton, Usdaw shop steward and convener at Ikea Glasgow, was sacked in July by bosses after fighting cuts to conditions.  

The furniture giant introduced rules that mean workers must rely on statutory sick pay if they become ill during the global pandemic, sparking concerns over staff being forced to choose between losing income and returning to work early. 

Members of the Usdaw branch in Glasgow have threatened industrial action at the store to back Mr Venton, and now trade unionists have written an open letter deploring the sacking “for standing up for workers’ health” in the midst of the pandemic.

The letter has been signed by the general secretary of food workers’ union BFAWU and the leadership at PCS, as well as representatives from Unison, Unite, RMT, GMB, the Fire Brigades Union, TSSA, UCU, EIS, Aslef, the NUJ, CWU, Bectu and Prospect. 

They said: “We condemn this blatant trade-union victimisation by Ikea and the dangerous cuts to workers’ rights that have followed the sacking of Richie Venton. 

“His immediate reinstatement is a most necessary step by Ikea at this time where robust health and safety measures and protection of those off sick or in self-isolation are an urgent priority.” 

Campaigners say the letter has opened up a new front in the battle for his reinstatement and for full average wages for all sick workers. A spokesman for the Reinstate Richie Venton campaign described it as “an amazing outpouring of solidarity.”

He added that employers “cannot be allowed to succeed with this victimisation.” 

IKEA said they could not comment on individual cases.

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