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Unifor welcomes cancellation of proposal to end statutory holidays

June 19, 2020 - 12:00 AM

June 19, 2020

TORONTO – Unifor welcomes the decision by the Ontario government to cancel its proposal to eliminate all but three statutory holidays for retail workers.

“We are pleased that the Ford government has changed its mind on this issue. Retail workers have been a vital part of getting our communities through the pandemic, and have been working incredibly hard to keep food on our tables,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.

“Coming just days after their pay was cut by major grocers, the possibility that they would lose their statutory holidays just added insult to injury.”

Dias spoke with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton this morning, who confirmed Ontario would not go ahead with the proposal to eliminate all statutory holidays for retail workers except Christmas, Good Friday and Canada Day.

“This is obviously good news, but the pay cuts are still in place and shows that we must remain constantly vigilant to stand up for the rights of all workers,” Dias said.

Loblaw was the first to announce it would end the $2 premium paid to workers in its grocery stores, and was soon followed by other major retailers, including Metro and Sobeys.

Unifor is leading efforts to make fair pay permanent as the country slowly emerges from the pandemic. The Fair Pay Forever campaign calls for historic inequities in the sector to be corrected. Many workers are forced to take more than one part-time job to get by.

Unifor will hold a virtual rally today, livestreamed on Facebook from four different cities, at 1pm (ET). Speakers at the rally will include Dias, Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi, Atlantic Director Linda MacNeil and grocery store workers in Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador.

For media inquiries, or to arrange interviews via FaceTime, Skype or Zoom, please contact Unifor Communications representative Stuart Laidlaw:  stuart.laidlaw@unifor.org or 647-385-4054 (cell).