Ikea Norway gets employees in Christmas spirit with huge bonuses

Ikea has decided to give its employees in Norway an early Christmas present.

Ikea Norway gets employees in Christmas spirit with huge bonuses
Photo: lifeinapixel/Depositphotos

Bonuses averaging as much as 40,000 kroner per person are to be paid by the furniture chain to its staff, Nettavisen reports.

The company’s 3,000 employees in Norway can look forward to receiving their cash gift before Christmas.

“All staff who have worked for at least 6 months in total throughout the year will be given a bonus of 113 percent. That means that each employee will be given more than one monthly wage extra in December,” Ikea Retail Norway’s acting head of communications Siv E. Egger Westin told Nettavisen.

The bonus payout will cost Ikea 120 million kroner.

Although the company has regularly handed out Christmas bonuses in the past, they are not usually big as this year’s.

In 2016 and 2017, Christmas bonuses by the company’s Norwegian arm averaged around 12,500 kroner.

“When we deliver good results, it’s thanks to our staff who are there every day. That’s why we want to give something back, and the bonus is a good way to do it,” Westin told Nettavisen.

The financial year from September 2018-August 2019 was a good one for Ikea with strong growth, the spokesperson said.

“We have good reason to give a bonus to our employees,” she said.

That reflects an upturn for the company compared to 2018, when sales fell for the first time in 20 years and plans to build 4 new stores were shelved.

A “planning studio” at which customers can plan new designs for their homes will be Oslo’s Akersgata in February, Westin told Nettavisen.

That will provide a central location in contrast to the tradition out-of-town placement of Ikea stores.

READ ALSO: Man gets his meatball stuck in an Ikea stool

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Ikea slammed for Norway vegetable charge

Ikea has been sharply criticised by Norwegian public health experts for charging its customers nine kroner ($1) extra if they want a side order of vegetables with the company's famous meatballs.

Ikea slammed for Norway vegetable charge
No vegetables are normally served with Ikea meatballs. Photo: Yoppy/Flickr

Unlike in most countries, Ikea gives customers in its Norway stores the option of having a portion of vegetables alongside their meatballs, but charges extra for it. 

Synnøve Grini, from the Norwegian Institute of Food Fisheries and Aquaculture research (Nofima) on Monday called on the Swedish flatpack furniture chain to drop the controversial vegetable charge, arguing it was a health hazard. 

”Norwegians eat too few vegetables, and it is a problem,” she told Dagbladet. “Ikea should turn the tables and let customers pay extra for more meat, but have vegetables as a part of the dish.” 

“It’s in the best interest of public health if vegetables are served with the meal,” agreed dieting expert Jeanette Roede. “Health shouldn’t be a ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ choice.”

Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, brown sauce and lingonberry jam has long been the top selling meal at Ikea's 361 stores worldwide. 

However, in keeping with Swedish tradition, vegetables are rarely served. 

“Meatballs is a dish we serve globally in all of our stores. It is more or less the same in all markets,” Ikea Norway’s communication director Jan Christian Thommesen told Dagbladet. “The meatballs are based on a traditional Swedish recipe and vegetables are normally not served with the dish.”

Thommesen said that the company had now decided to change the dish so that Norwegian customers can no longer opt out of the additional vegetables. 

“The change comes after a survey we did a while ago. We got a lot of feedback from our customers in Norway that they missed having vegetables with the meatballs and we have decided to listen to our customers,” he said.

“As a result, the dish will be ten kroner more expensive, which is currently the same price as a side order of vegetables.”