IKEA workers strike in B.C.

Workers at an IKEA store in Richmond, B.C., have gone on strike, following a failure by the Teamsters Local 213 and Swedish-based retailer to reach a five-year pay contract. Store manager Doug McCann opted to close the store while workers are picketing, according to news reports.

The Teamsters have asked the retailer to eliminate its two-tier wage schedule, which the Teamsters say gave the company the ability to charge lower wages to new employees. The company reportedly was willing to eliminate the two-tier system over six years. The company and Teamsters’ last three-year contract expired on Dec. 31, 2006.

According to the Vancouver Sun, IKEA then offered a five-year deal that included raises of 2 percent in each of the first three years and 3 percent in the next two years. That deal was rejected in a 61 percent vote by workers.

The Teamsters also are requesting general improvements in wages and more full-time positions at the store.

None of IKEA’s 11 other stores in Canada are unionized.