THE sacking of Maguiresbridge-born IKEA trade unionist Richie Venton has recently been raised at the Scottish Parliament, with a question to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr. Venton, an elected Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) shop steward and convenor in IKEA Glasgow, was sacked by his employer, IKEA, after he raised concerns over workers’ sick pay cuts.

Responding to a question from Mr. Venton’s MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament), Sandra White – herself a former USDAW union rep – the First Minister acknowledged that she knew Mr. Venton and his “formidable campaigning record over many years”, and although she is not commenting on individual cases, she backed the right of union representatives to protect workers’ interests without victimisation.

She further insisted that the Scottish government expects employers to not only be aware of but adhere to the legal rights of union representatives to carry out their trade union activities.

The First Minister concluded: “The ability of trade union officials to carry out their trade union duties is an important principle that all of us should endorse without equivocation.”

The issue has already been raised in Westminster in an Early Day Motion tabled by Chris Stephens MP, which is currently backed by 48 MPs from five different parties, including MPs from the Alliance party and SDLP.

A Reinstate Richie Venton campaign spokesperson said: “Richie’s courage and determination has already forced a major retreat by IKEA bosses ... We are determined to get Richie reinstated to his job. Far from easing off, the campaign is set to escalate.”