THE Reinstate Richie Venton campaign – set up in support of Fermanagh man Richie Venton who was sacked by his employer, IKEA, in disputes over workers’ safety related to the coronavirus – has seen recent victories for IKEA workers as the company made a u-turn on proposed sick pay cuts, it is understood.
Originally from Maguiresbridge, but living in Glasgow for 28 years, Mr. Venton, an elected Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) shop steward, and convenor in IKEA Glasgow, was sacked by his employer, IKEA, after he raised concerns over workers’ sick pay cuts.
The Reinstate Richie Venton campaign’s aim was to have Mr. Venton reinstated to his job and his elected union position; to win full average wages for all Covid-sick workers in IKEA and every other workplace; and to stop employers making billions in profit but endangering workers’ lives by expecting them to survive on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay.
A spokesman on behalf of the campaign, outlined the recent victories for workers following Mr. Venton’s battle with the multinational furniture company: “The outcomes of Richie’s courageous but harrowing struggle over exactly six months, and the incredible outpouring of solidarity in action during the past three months, amount to multiple victories for workers – starting with those in IKEA, but going far beyond that.”
He continued: “Since September 1, any IKEA worker forced off work due to Covid-19 will no longer suffer absence penalty points, and no longer be excluded from company sick benefit because of exceeding any absence points threshold. They will be paid their contract hours wages automatically. That’s a huge material gain for thousands of IKEA workers in the UK and Ireland compared with what they faced from June to September – the possibility of being dumped on £95-a-week Statutory Sick Pay.”
Although many victories for IKEA workers were achieved through Mr. Venton’s campaign, unfortunately Mr. Venton has not been reinstated in his role.
“We cannot forget that this has been achieved at the cost of Richie losing his job and source of income,” said the representative of the Reinstate Richie Venton campaign.
However, despite losing his job, there has been somewhat of a positive outcome for Mr. Venton personally. The spokesman explained: “Richie, represented by his Union lawyer, has gone through that legal procedure and has now reached a Settlement Agreement, and therefore withdrawn his Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.”
“As we hope to explain, that is another strand to a victory for workers’ solidarity against a global giant corporation; another part of victory against all the odds,” the spokesman concluded.