Metro workers have ratified a new five-year labor agreement with the Canadian grocery retailer, ending a month-long strike involving more than 3,700 employees at 27 stores in and around the Toronto area.
Full-time and senior part-time workers will receive a pay increase of $2 an hour in the next few weeks while all workers will get a $1.50 an hour raise immediately.
Over the life of the deal, full- and senior part-time workers will be paid $4.50 an hour more. The pay improvement for non-senior part-time workers will be $3.20 an hour. When the contract expires, full-time workers will be making $25.05 an hour and $33,000 in new earnings.
“Workers made it abundantly clear that they needed to see real wage gains in the first year of the agreement to address the affordability issues they currently face, which is exactly what we accomplished in this new contract,” said Gord Currie, Unifor Local 414 president. “I am extremely proud of our bargaining committee and all Metro workers for their bravery and determination.”
Added benefits include a new part-time sick leave program, improved pensions, a new standardized work week for full-time workers, more stable scheduling including additional guaranteed weekends off for some classifications, and job protection from the implementation of self-checkouts.
“We are pleased to have reached a fair and reasonable outcome,” said Joe Fusco, senior vice president for Metro. “Our store employees benefit from wages and working conditions among the highest in the industry, and the new contract maintains those standards. For its part, the company improved its operational flexibility to function effectively in the country’s most competitive marketplace.”
Unifor, which represented the striking workers, thought a strike would be averted when it approved a plan in late July. However, the workers rejected the deal and began walking the picket lines on July 29.
The work stoppage intensified when the workers took the strike to two fulfillment centers outside of Toronto and blocked trucks from making deliveries to Metro stores. The tactic, however, was ordered to stop three days later.