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Strike averted at 17 No Frills stores in Ontario

Unifor has reached a tentative agreement on behalf of nearly 1,300 No Frills workers across Ontario, the union announced Sunday, averting an imminent strike expected to begin in less than 24 hours.

The union announced the strike deadline on Thursday, calling for higher wages and better working conditions for employees at 17 stores. The pressure tactics could have started on Monday.

No Frills is the discount grocery banner owned by Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Canada’s largest grocery company.

“No Frills workers knew the public would support them in demanding their fair share of Loblaw’s huge profits,” said Gord Currie, President of Unifor Local 414.

“Workers have made it clear that they are prepared to strike, if necessary, in order to achieve our necessary demands for decent work and wages.”

The 17 stores include locations in Toronto, Whitby, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, Ontario. and elsewhere.

Unifor previously cited Loblaw’s profit growth amid rising costs of living as the reason for its wage demands, saying workers were fed up with the disparity between their pay and the company’s profits.

No Frills workers, most of whom work part-time, will now vote on the tentative agreement Monday through Saturday. Details of the deal have not been released due to the upcoming vote.

A No Frills store is shown in Toronto on Friday, November 17, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joe O’Connal

“Our bargaining committee at No Frills was determined to build on what grocery store workers achieved last summer with Metro,” Unifor National President Lana Payne said in a statement.

“This agreement in principle provides for standard salaries and many other improvements for our members.”

Loblaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Metro workers at 27 Toronto-area stores have reached a five-year deal after a month-long strike last summer.

About 2,700 workers got an immediate raise of $1.50 an hour. Full-time and part-time senior workers will receive an additional 50 cent increase in January, bringing their total pay increase over the coming months to $2 an hour.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 19, 2023.

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