Unifor says in a statement that front-line grocery workers at 27 Metro stores will begin strike action on Saturday at 12:01 a.m., with picket lines forming at the stores at 8 a.m.
The union says the strike action comes after members of Unifor Local 414 voted to reject a tentative collective agreement reached last week.
Local 414 represents some 3,700 workers across the GTA.
Unifor says stores affected by the strike will include those in Toronto, Brantford, Orangeville, Milton, Oakville, Brampton, North York, Islington, Willowdale, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Newmarket and Scarborough.
Metro Ontario Inc. a subsidiary of Metro Inc., said in a statement that it is “extremely disappointed” that employees at the 27 locations rejected the agreement even though the union bargaining committee unanimously recommended it to its members.
“The company has been negotiating with the union for the past few weeks and reached a fair and equitable agreement that meets the needs of our employees and our customers while ensuring that Metro remains competitive,” Metro Ontario said in the statement.
“The settlement provided significant increases for employees in all four years of the agreement, as well as pension and benefits improvements for all employees, including part-time employees.”
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The union has said its priorities for Metro workers were improving pay and access to benefits, as well as improving working conditions and stability.
Unifor national president Lana Payne said in a statement that the tentative agreement was brought to members because it contained “considerable gains” but they have made it clear that it isn’t enough.
“This decision to go on strike comes after years of these workers being nickelled and dimed while facing increased precarity and eroded job quality,” Payne said.
“It comes after having pandemic pay stripped away. It comes at a time of record profits and soaring CEO compensation. It comes at a time when life has become simply unaffordable for so many of these workers who risked their health and safety during the pandemic.”
Gord Currie, president of Unifor Local 414, said in the same statement that front-line grocery workers deserve respect.
“You know the system is broken when front-line workers can’t afford food, rent or gas,” he said.
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