Unifor stands in support of requiring the heads of Canada’s largest grocery chains to testify before a House of Commons committee about why they are all cutting pandemic pay on the same day.
Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith put forward a motion at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry to summon major grocery executives to explain why they are cutting their workers’ pay. The motion will be voted on Thursday.
Cutting the pay of retail workers has struck a chord with many Canadians who have recognized grocery staff as COVID heroes throughout these difficult weeks and months.
Erskine-Smith, who represents the Toronto riding of Beaches-East York, has said the timing of the announcements, all on the same day, “intrigues” him. “Companies have colluded before and I would like to ensure there is no such collusion to reduce the wages of our essential workers in the middle of a pandemic," Erskine-Smith told the Globe and Mail.
Unifor is ready, willing and available any time to be part of these hearings and offer testimony on for pay and working conditions for all retail workers.
These workers have always been essential. The pandemic did not create that. Thanks to the pandemic, Canadians today have a greater appreciation of the vital work done by those working long hours in our grocery stores.
The added pay brought in during the pandemic was a good start in addressing historic inequities in the sector, but more needs to be done. Now is not the time to go backward.
Grocery chains are moving more and more to part time work – including a push by Loblaw-owned Dominion stories in Newfoundland and Labrador to cut full time jobs by 20 per cent – including lower pay rates and benefits.
This forces more workers to hold more than one part-time job as full-time work becomes less available – something we have seen in long-term care homes is a recipe for spreading COVID-19 and other illnesses, and must be curtailed.
Unifor is preparing to resume contract talks with Dominion in Newfoundland and Labrador, where we are pushing back against the move to more part time jobs.
Retail jobs can be good jobs that recognizes the importance of the work belong done and build better and safer communities. Sign the online Unifor petition, and help ensure retail workers get the Fair Pay Forever they deserve.