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Metro workers walk off the job as grocery chain closes GTA stores

The head of the union representing thousands of striking Metro grocery store workers across the Greater Toronto Area says members can no longer accept labour agreements that still leave them scrambling to make ends meet.

Unifor National president Lana Payne says some 3,700 employees who walked off the job today can no longer rely on their Metro paycheques to support themselves and their families.

She adds most grocery store jobs across Canada are now part-time roles, adding workers in the industry are fighting for both greater stability and a share of the billions in profits the largest grocery retailers have netted in recent months.

Members of Unifor Local 414 voted to launch strike action just after midnight, and picket lines at the 27 affected store locations went up as of 8 a.m.

Union members walked off the job after rejecting a tentative labour agreement reached last week.

Unifor says stores affected by the strike will be closed and include those in Toronto and its suburbs, Brantford, Orangeville, Milton, Oakville, Brampton and Mississauga.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh made a brief appearance at a Metro location in Toronto, offering words of support to the striking workers.

“This employer is deciding to cut off workers just below the full-time cutoff, which precludes them from getting benefits,” said Singh. “This is a strategy for a company that just posted a massive quarterly profit…this is all so egregious.”

“Some of us aren’t even close to the povetty line — we’re way under,” said Tammy, who works in produce at a Metro location in Toronto’s east end. “I have members who speak to me who use food blanks. I can’t even afford rent.”

A Metro grocery store is seen in Toronto, Tuesday, July 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

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