We, IKEA’s warehouse workers in Piacenza organized in S.I. Cobas union and people in solidarity all over Italy, express our solidarity to your struggle against IKEA’s social dumping.
Here in Piacenza (Italy) we have been struggling since 2012 against IKEA’s exploitation, asking for better working conditions and the chance to choose the trade union we would like to join. We are not directly employed by IKEA, which prefers to subcontract its labor force through a system of cooperatives.
IKEA and the coops working as subcontractors tried to crush our struggle, blackmailing us with the threat of layoffs. In mid-October 2012 workers went on strike against their meager wages, which had been set at way lower levels that what the collective agreement provides for, and for a more equal allocation of workloads.
This struggle for the plain compliance with the collective agreement and with the most basic working rights was immediately met by the opposition of CGS coop and IKEA, whose decision, was to allow for no concessions to the workers and to weaken the workers’ strength through punitive actions and threatening to suspend, transfer and fire the workers involved. This was met by the compliancy of trade union confederations. 107 workers were fired with the justification that the strike had caused the cooperatives a loss in the orders coming from IKEA. After months of struggling, workers were reinstated in January 2013. But IKEA, after the S.I. Cobas union had increased its membership up to 2/3 of the workers employed in the warehouse, launched a new attack: last May, 33 of the most active and unionized workers were suspended, and later 24 of them were fired.
Since then our struggle is primarily to reinstate our co-workers and we won’t stop until the victory!
We all think your struggle is the same as our struggle against the company’s abuses. In Belgium, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Italy, Canada and Turkey we are questioning the whole exploitative model IKEA is relying upon to make profits.
In Italy, in particular, the S.I. Cobas union has built up a national struggle to break down the system of cooperatives, which is often and not coincidentally permeated by mafia, and the use of an illegal hiring system to control workers.
Your victory would help our efforts here in Italy, strengthening us and weakening IKEA. That’s why we are on your side. It’s not just a matter of ethics or justice. As an injury to one is an injury to all, a victory of some is the victory of all of us.
For this reasons a national campaign against IKEA has been launched (here you can find an explanation of the campaign called #SmontaIkea). Since now there were two national days of solidarity in which rallies were organised in many italian cities and also abroad. The next 13th September a national demonstration in Piacenza has been just called
by S.I. Cobas.
We invite you to follow and support the campaign.