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OECD Dutch National Contact Point: IKEA Agreed to Global Principles on Neutrality & Union Access


OECD Dutch National Contact Point: IKEA Agreed to Global Principles on Neutrality & Union Access

The Dutch National Contact Point (NCP) for the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises has released its final statement today regarding the complaint filed by UNI Global Union in 2018. The Dutch NCP found merit in UNI Global Union’s complaint which set off a process of mediation between IKEA’s parent company, Ingka Group, and UNI Global Union.

The Swedish retailer had been accused of disregarding workers’ rights to join trade unions and failing to engage in constructive negotiations with union representatives.  

In its final statement, the NCP reveals that the Ingka Group and UNI, with the assistance of the Dutch NCP, reached an Agreement of Global Principles in 2021 as a result of the mediation process. Under this agreement, Ingka Group committed to remaining neutral when workers choose to form trade unions at IKEA. Additionally, IKEA also pledged to grant reasonable access to union representatives in its stores and establish a process to address any implementation issues that may arise. 

Christy Hoffman, UNI Global Union’s General Secretary, expressed appreciation for the NCP’s recommendation and emphasized the need to continue working towards practical solutions in the USA, Ireland, and Portugal, aligning with the agreed commitments. “IKEA has taken some meaningful steps forward in our Agreement on Global Principles in connection with access to potential members and neutrality in the context of an organizing campaign.  We welcome the NCP’s recommendation that the parties continue their work to find a practical solution in the USA, Ireland, and Portugal concerning the implementation of this access language, consistent with these clear commitments.  And we thank the members of the NCP for their dedication to see this case through,” Hoffman said. 

The agreement also calls for national trade unions and IKEA country management to collaborate and determine how to implement the agreement at the country level. Although local agreements were not reached within the timelines of this process, the NCP strongly recommends that the parties continue working towards them. 

“The UFCW will honour the Dutch NCP’s recommendation to continue to talk with IKEA USA to come to an agreement on how we can implement the Global Agreement in the United States. The UFCW continues to work with IKEA co-workers across the United States and Canada who are seeking to create unions in their stores,” said David Young UFCW International Vice President and Director of Organizing. 

The Dutch NCP has announced that the parties will reconvene next year for a final evaluation. Mathias Bolton, UNI Global Union’s Head of Commerce expressed optimism about the implementation of the agreement and the anticipated progress to be reported at the next meeting with the Dutch NCP. 

“We look forward to working with Ingka Group and our affiliated trade unions in the implementation of this agreement. We expect to be able to report strong progress when we meet again with the Dutch NCP next year,” said Mathias Bolton, UNI Global Union’s Head of Commerce. 



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