The campaign to reinstate Richie Venton and safeguard sick IKEA workers wages has reached the Scottish Parliament with a question to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Responding to a question from Richie’s MSP Sandra White – herself a former USDAW union rep – the First Minister acknowledged that she knew Richie and his formidable campaigning record over many years. Although not commenting on individual cases, Nicola Sturgeon backed the right of union representatives to protect workers interests without victimisation. She insisted the Scottish government expects employers to not only be aware of but adhere to the legal rights of union reps to carry out their trade union activities.
The fact that the man they sacked was referred to in such warm terms by the First Minister puts further heat on IKEA bosses – and this was sent soaring when Sturgeon called on them to ‘get round the table’ with the union to find a satisfactory solution.
The issue has already been raised in Westminster in an Early Day Motion tabled by Chris Stephens MP, which is currently backed by 48 MPs from five different parties.
Taken with the wave of solidarity from across the UK and the ongoing demonstrations at a growing number of IKEA stores, the pressure on the arrogant bosses to change course is growing daily.
Sources close to IKEA senior management report a series of increasingly frantic meetings desperately trying to hammer out a face-saving strategy to halt the growing wave of opposition from workers, trade unionists, politicians and customers.
However, they are now learning that their brutal sacking of Richie isn’t going to be the pushover they expected, nor are workers going to meekly roll over and see their sick pay slashed.
The battle continues–watch this space for further developments!