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Talks break down again in IKEA dispute

The latest round of talks in a long-running labour dispute at IKEA have broken down. -
The latest round of talks in a long-running labour dispute at IKEA have broken down.
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The latest round of talks in a long-running labour dispute at IKEA have broken down, according to a spokesperson for the Swedish furniture retailer.

Representatives from IKEA and Teamsters Local 213 returned to the bargaining table last week, seven months after pickets went up around the Richmond store.

But the two parties ended bargaining Monday at an impasse, according to a company statement provided by spokesperson Madeleine Löwenborg-Frick.

According to the statement, “IKEA provided the union with an amended proposal that included generous automatic annual increases and that met the union’s demands on benefits eligibility and guaranteed hours.”

Teamsters Local 213 represents approximately 325 workers at the store on Jacombs Road. They’ve been out of work since May 13.

A sticking point between the two sides is the fate of unionized employees who crossed the picket line to return to work. The union expelled the workers, but the company insists the workers, who it says now number 35, have the right to continue working.

“IKEA respects its employees’ legal right to work, whether or not they are an actual union member and is committed to protect employees to the fullest extent of the law. It is not acceptable to the company that any employee should be terminated for returning to work,” the statement reads.

Meanwhile the union is stepping up pressure. Teamsters are leafletting shoppers at other IKEA locations across Canada, including the Coquitlam location, whose workers are not unionized.

Teamsters Local 213 and the B.C. Federation of Labour have also teamed up to run radio ads encouraging Christmas shoppers to avoid IKEA.

“This holiday, instead of IKEA, let’s shop where they respect their workers,” the ads say.

No further talks are scheduled, according to IKEA.

The store remains open with reduced hours and services.

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