Alberta Safeway staff vote in favour of strike after firm ends COVID-19 ‘hero pay’ | CBC Information

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Safeway staff in Alberta might take to the picket traces after a majority voted in favour of strike motion, in response to their union.

Throughout a vote final week, 79 per cent of Safeway workers represented by the United Meals and Business Employees Union (UFCW) Native 401 voted for strike motion, the union mentioned Monday.

“That is an setting the place workers are going through a variety of nervousness,” UFCW Native 401 president Thomas Hesse advised CBC Information.

Hesse mentioned he is undecided the strike vote means staff are searching for a battle — however he mentioned they’re searching for a good deal. Legally, workers can strike with 72 hours discover. 

CBC Information has reached out to Sobeys for remark.

Contract negotiations

The contract between Sobeys, which owns the grocery retailer chain, and its 8,000 staff at 75 Safeway shops within the province expired in 2017.

A mediator was appointed by the federal government in February, however after months of negotiations the 2 events haven’t come to an settlement. 

In March, the grocery chain applied a $2 per hour pay improve — what Safeway known as its “hero pay” program — to help workers going through hazardous work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

That pay bump was scrapped in mid-June, shortly earlier than dad or mum firm Empire Firm Ltd. introduced its income have grown throughout the pandemic.

“An additional $2 an hour, it isn’t some huge cash, nevertheless it’s a recognition. There’s actually no morality in that, you have type of gone from heroes to zeroes in a short time,” Hesse mentioned. “And whereas the pandemic may not nonetheless be at a disaster stage, there’s nonetheless a menace, there’s nonetheless a danger, and everyone is aware of it.”

Ten Safeway shops and one Safeway gasoline bar have had COVID-19 alerts and diagnoses within the province, Hesse mentioned. 

Revenue was up by 43 per cent, as much as $181 million, within the firm’s fourth quarter which resulted in Could.

Worker considerations

Hesse mentioned cash is not the one concern on the desk.

He mentioned staff want a brand new well being and security course of at work and for his or her advantages to be safe.

Latest research have additionally proven dealing with thermal paper receipts might put cashiers at the next danger of most cancers, one thing staff are involved about.

UFCW Native 401 government director, Chris O’Halloran mentioned the turnout for the strike vote was one of many highest he is seen lately. 

“It’s a testomony not solely to worker and public distaste for the type of greed we have seen from main Canadian grocers, but in addition to our union’s large member engagement and transparency initiatives,” he mentioned in an announcement posted to the union’s web site.

The union mentioned it should ask Sobeys to return to the bargaining desk as quickly as doable to barter a deal.

Hesse mentioned whereas workers are indignant, he would not say they’re desirous to strike. 

“I believe they actually voted with their hearts. I believe they wished to say to Sobeys, hey, cut price pretty,” he mentioned.

“Nobody needs to go on strike, and we’re hopeful we can’t must. We have simply advised Sobeys that we’re robust, and we’ll battle if we’re pushed,” the assertion posted to the union’s web site learn. 



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