Loblaw workers in Ontario are threatening to strike

Loblaw workers in Ontario are threatening to strike

Workers at Loblaw outlets in the Canadian province of Ontario have voted to give their union authority to call a strike if talks with the retailer fail to produce an agreement.

UFCW Canada local unions 1977, 1000A, 175 and 633 represent nearly 30,000 store-level workers at Loblaw-owned banners Fortinos, Great Food, Loblaw, Real Canadian Superstores and Zehrs.

Conciliation talks convened by the Ministry of Labour broke off in late June with no progress. A "No Board" report by the Minister put the parties in a legal strike or lockout position from 10 July.

The union said the overwhelming strike vote is an "unmistakable signal to Loblaw that its workforce is very angry at the company's demand for massive wage, benefit and other concessions at a time when Loblaw's sales and profits are rising and the economy generally is strengthening".

The union said Loblaw's proposal would cut wages by up to 25%, increase waiting time for benefits eligibility, reduce full-time jobs and impose availability rules on part-time workers that would make it very difficult for them to hold another part-time job or even, in the case of students, attend school.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume on 19 July with a provincial mediator from the Ministry of Labour.