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Sacked trade union rep wins financial settlement from Ikea

Richie Venton was forced out of his job this summer after warning colleagues of planned changes to their workers’ rights

A TRADE union representative sacked by furniture giant Ikea this summer following his concerns over unsafe working practices has won a settlement from the multibillion-pound business.

Richie Venton, a long-term campaigner and trade unionist, was forced out after warning fellow staff of planned changes to workers’ rights, which would have seen many relying on statutory sick pay if they have coronavirus or have to self-isolate.

The proposed changes were rolled back and, following talks with shopworkers’ union Usdaw and Mr Venton, it has been confirmed he was awarded a financial settlement by Ikea before an employment tribunal could be called. 

The Reinstate Richie Venton campaign said: “It’s a collective achievement, a victory for workers’ unity in action, despite all the restrictions imposed by anti-union legislation, the lack of leadership from national union officials married to the notion of ‘partnership’ with company bosses, and indeed the pandemic regulations.”

A series of demonstrations were held outside Ikea stores led by the Reinstate Richie Venton campaign, along with support from other trade unions.

Politicians also hit out at the business, with SNP MP Chris Stephens putting forward a motion to Westminster condemning “the sacking of Venton for carrying out his duties as an elected workers’ representative who sought to prevent hardship, while protecting workers’ health during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.”

The motion was backed by a number of politicians, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. 

Mr Stephens said: “I am pleased for Richie personally. This is victory for trade union solidarity. 

“Unions rose up against a major injustice and Ikea’s reputation is severely damaged as a result of this episode. 

“It is important members of Parliament highlight these injustices and stand up for workers during Covid and need to press for legislation that will give workers additional protections in the workplace.”

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