no frills strike

Grocery store workers across Toronto could soon go on strike

Employees of an arm of Loblaw Companies Limited have apparently been inspired by their compatriots at Metro, as they, too, are gearing up to go on strike just a few months after staff at the competitor grocer accepted an agreement for higher worker wages.

The union representing more than 1,200 employees of No Frills, Loblaw's discount banner, has announced that the action could come in just a few days' time if it cannot negotiate a deal with the supermarket chain.

If workers do walk, it would impact operations at stores across Toronto and Ontario starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, November 20.

When unionized full- and part-time staff at Metro did the same over the summer, a total of 27 retail locations were forced to close their doors for weeks, while distribution centres were also momentarily impacted.

And, like the Metro walkout, hands at No Frills are asking for more pay as their company continues to report record profits.

"Every single financial quarter Loblaw posts higher profits than the last. It's past time the workers helping them earn these profits get a share so they can support their own families," Unifor National President Lana Payne said in a release announcing the looming strike on Thursday.

"Loblaw must come to the table prepared to raise wages, improve working conditions, and create more full-time jobs for these grocery store workers. They deserve decent work and pay. It’s as simple as that."

The statement cites an "out-of-control disparity" between the compensation of staff on the ground in No Frills stores, and Loblaw Companies' "enormous" profits. The currently heightened cost of living, especially when it comes to food prices, has also added more fuel to the fire.

As Payne says, "you know it's bad when workers at Canada's largest grocery store chain are struggling to afford their own food, even at discount stores like No Frills."

Loblaw Companies Ltd. just reported its latest fiscal results yesterday, noting a staggering $18.27 billion in revenue and $621 million in profit in Q3 2023 — increases of five per cent and just shy of 12 per cent, respectively, from the same period last year.

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