The Workers Party of Britain denounces Ikea’s plans to penalise employees for taking time off to self-isolate during the pandemic.
Workers employed by the flat-pack retail giant at one of its stores in Glasgow are urging their union Usdaw to organise strike action over changes to sick pay entitlement and the sacking of their local union rep.
The changes to working conditions, which apply to all Ikea stores in the UK, would mean that any worker who falls ill with Covid-19, or who is obliged to self-isolate to limit the spread of the virus, will be penalised. Even if an employee has a flawless sick record, he or she would only get full pay for the first ten days – well short of the required two-week self-isolation period.
After that the worker would be bumped down to SSP (statutory sick pay) of just £95 a week. And that’s just for those with a zero absence record. If a worker has had the misfortune to have been sick more than twice in the preceding year, their pay would plummet to SSP from day one.
Workers are demanding that Ikea scrap this vindictive and dangerous scheme, which could confront employees with the choice between trying to live on starvation wages or risking the further spread of the virus.
They are also demanding the immediate reinstatement of their union rep, who was sacked for doing his job and trying to protect the interests of his members. It seems that Ikea took exception to the rep’s alleged “breach of confidentiality”.
Clearly management would prefer to have the kind of union rep who keeps mum about impending attacks on their members, merely rubber-stamping the changes as they are announced. It must have come as a shock for them to encounter a rep who was actually doing his job!
The Workers Party of Britain salutes the workers’ determination to stand up against management bullying and stands ready to support them in whatever course of action they resolve to take.