A rally in support of a campaign to reinstate sacked IKEA worker and union rep Richie Venton from Maguiresbridge took place in Enniskillen on Saturday (September 12).

Hosted in conjunction with Fermanagh Council of Trades Unions, the rally took place in Enniskillen town centre at the Diamond from 1pm. Around 20 people came out to show their solidarity with Mr. Venton, who was sacked by his employers, IKEA, in disputes over workers’ safety from the coronavirus, it has been claimed.

A campaign entitled ‘Reinstate Richie Venton’ was launched by workers furious at the “victimisation” and sacking of Fermanagh native Mr. Venton, an elected USDAW shop steward and convenor in IKEA Glasgow.

During the rally, trade unionist and Cross-Community Labour Alternative Councillor Donal O'Cofaigh read a message of appreciation and solidarity sent by Mr. Venton, who currently resides in Glasgow.

"As they say, I wish I was here! I want to send my deepest appreciation and solidarity to all the Fermanagh trade unionists who have turned out today - to show their support for my reinstatement to my job and elected union position. Warm thanks to all the women and men of principle - gathered in my childhood stomping ground - in the battle against the criminal system where sick workers can't afford to be sick," read Mr. O'Cofaigh on Mr. Venton's behalf.

He continued: "I'm the first union representative to be sacked for standing up against unsafe practices by employers during the Coronavirus. But unless we win this battle, other company bosses will come after other workers' representatives. They must not succeed. Keep telling the truth. Keep exposing the crime of workers having to choose between damaging their health and financial ruin - all for profit. Keep demanding full average wages for every sick worker - whether sick with Covid or anything else."

Mr. Venton concluded his message by stating: "My fight is your fight - the rich will never break our spirits! Thank you for uplifting my fighting morale with your solidarity!"