“Ontario No Frills Workers Threaten to Strike Over Compensation and Working Conditions
Thousands of grocery store workers in Ontario, represented by the union Unifor, are considering striking 17 No Frills stores across the province due to dissatisfaction with compensation and working conditions. The previous labour agreement expired last month, and Unifor is demanding better pay, improved working conditions, and more full-time job opportunities for its members. According to Unifor President Lana Payne, these workers deserve decent work and pay, and the union won’t back down until their demands are met.
Impacts and Potential Targets
Not all No Frills locations in Ontario would be affected by the strike, just the 17 outlets represented by Unifor. These stores are located in southern Ontario, mainly in or near Toronto. The potential strike comes on the heels of a month-long strike by Metro workers, also represented by Unifor. The successful agreement between Metro and Unifor has set a precedent and a target for the entire industry, according to Larry Savage, a labor studies professor at Brock University. This has sent a clear signal to No Frills that the union is prepared to fight for workers’ rights and fair compensation.
Workers’ Conditions and Demands
Unifor reports that only six percent of its unionized No Frills workers are full-time employees, leaving the majority as part-time workers and a quarter of them being students. The average hourly wage for full-time workers is $19.89, while part-time workers (excluding students) earn an average of $16.95 per hour. Students are paid an average of $15.92 per hour, with a minimum wage of $15.60 for those under 18 working fewer hours per week. In response to the impending strike, No Frills franchisee owner Ryan Barrett expressed the goal of reaching an agreement with the union.
Loblaw’s Earnings Amidst Worker Discontent
The potential strike news comes as Loblaw Cos Ltd., which owns No Frills, among other chains, reported increased sales and profits. Despite the growth in sales and profits, Unifor insists that better compensation and working conditions are essential for the grocery store workers who play a crucial role in the company’s success.
The threat of a strike by No Frills workers in Ontario reflects widespread frustration among employees in the industry. As these workers fight for fair compensation and improved working conditions, their demand for decent work and pay resonates with many others in similar positions. The outcome of the impending negotiations between Unifor and No Frills will have significant implications for workers in the grocery industry as they look to secure better wages and improved work environments.”