Ikea is introducing arbitration agreements, which takes away our right as employees to a court and fair trial. An arbitrator is a third party individual who the company will compensate to resolve a dispute. The issue with an arbitrator is that workers lose their option to a trial and jury. Arbitrators have the incentive to side with the company, because if they do, they can hope to be called back for future work. Arbitrators are also more likely to provide a smaller award even if they do side with the plaintiff. Jury's are more likely to view employees fairly, and the arbitration agreement shuts us out from having that option. Forced arbitration is bad for employees, and better for companies who want more favorable conditions for legal disputes. We understand that litigation is expensive, but that expense can come from elsewhere if need be. Ikea has a reputation for employee friendliness, and this would damage that perception. All we are asking for is protection of our legal rights.
Why is this important?
We are losing our right to a fair trial and jury. It is not a matter of if, but when. While there are exceptions to arbitration, there is nothing stopping that from being changed in the future. After this change, the focus will shift, and Ikea may have an easier time changing the terms without anyone noticing. A jury and fair trial is more fair to the employees, and the company is acting to prevent employees from ever seeing their day in court. If we do not stand up now, this will go into action, and it will get worse. We must stand in solidarity to protect current and future workers.