No sweet deal between union, chocolate factory

A chocolate factory owned by confectionary producer Cloetta had to close down on Thursday after several employees called in sick and simply left work. The reason for the mass departure was that the factory’s union representative Wellington Ikuobase had been locked out.

According to Cloetta they chose to lock out Ikuobase as a result of an ongoing conflict in the factory. But according to the union there are other reasons behind the event.

“It is pretty rare that a company locks out an employee. If you do it to a union representative it is especially serious,” Gerald Lindberg, at Livs the union which represents the workers, told Swedish Radio in Gävle.

One month ago Cloetta announced that they would close the factory and since then the company has been in negotiations with the union. On Thursday morning, however, when Ikuobase arrived at work his entry card wasn’t working.

Johan Stenborg, a supervisor at the factory, confirms that the card was locked.

“Yes, there has been an incident and as a result we have suspended one person. We will talk to all parties involved and start and investigation, next week.”

But Stenborg denies that the suspension has anything to do with Ikuobase’s obligations as union representative.