Metro workers have been on strike for a month, and their tactics are becoming more aggressive.
The picket lines moved to two distribution centers in Toronto as protesters blocked trucks from making fresh deliveries to all Metro stores in Canada, including the Food Basics chain, reports the Financial Post.
Twenty-seven Metro stores in the Toronto area have been closed since July 29 after 3,700 workers walked off the job. Pay has been the biggest sticking point despite Metro offering what it has called the highest wage increase in decades. A tentative deal included a $3.75 per hour pay increase for full and senior part-time workers at the end of three years. Remaining part-time workers would receive a $2.65-an-hour boost. The deal also included paid sick leave for part-timers and increases to benefits and pensions. The workers, however, rejected the package.
Unifor, the union representing the workers, said their members want a higher raise during the first year of the deal (the proposal was for $1.05 an hour) to help replace the “hero” pay of $2 an hour Canadian grocery stores removed in 2020.
Metro said it does have a better deal, but workers are refusing to engage in talks. The grocery retailer wants the Ministry of Labour to provide a mediator for negotiations.
Record profits have only increased the tension between the two sides. Metro sales in the third quarter were up 9.6% year-over-year at over $6.43 billion. Same-store sales increased 9.4% vs. 2022, and online sales rose 99%. Third quarter net earnings jumped 26% at $346.7 million compared to $275 million in Q3 2022. Adjusted net earnings came in at $314.8 million, more than $30 million at this time last year.
Metro said the attempts to block trucks from distribution centers were unacceptable and that no solution would emerge from such tactics.
Video courtesy of CityNews.
Striking Metro workers blocked trucks from leaving two distribution centers in the Toronto area. They have been walking the picket lines for a month, with no end to the strike in sight. Metro says it has a new package in place, but the workers do not want to negotiate. What will it take to reach a settlement? How long do you think this strike will last?
Let us know in the comments below, or email your thoughts to the SN staff at [email protected], and make sure to include your first and last name and job title.