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IKEA rapped for offering locked-out B.C. employees incentives to cross picket

RICHMOND, B.C. - The union representing locked-out workers at IKEA's flagship store in Richmond, B.C., says the provincial labour board has found the Swedish retail giant committed unfair labour practices.

The union says the board found IKEA bargained in bad faith and violated provincial labour law by trying to bargain directly with employees through a website posting.

The board ordered the company to remove the website posting and stop paying monetary incentives for employees to cross picket lines.

Union spokeswoman Anita Dawson says the company makes billions of dollars a year but refuses to negotiate an end to the lengthy dispute.

A statement issued by IKEA says it doesn't agree with the decision and will be appealing.

About 350 employees were locked out of the store on May 13, 2013 and the union says there's been no bargaining since last December.

The union went to the labour board complaining the company offered locked-out employees an extra $2.50 an hour, additional weekend premiums and other incentives to cross picket lines on its website.

Dawson says the offer made directly to employees was for more than what was offered during bargaining.

The statement from IKEA's public relations manager, Madeleine Lowenborg-Frick, said the company feels it's important to communicate directly through the strike and to answer any questions that they may have in a straight forward and honest manner.

"The strike has carried on far longer than anyone could have expected. We do not believe this situation is in anyone’s best interest," she said.

The Richmond store is one of only two unionized IKEA outlets in the country.

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