MONTREAL, Oct. 15, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ — Canada's largest food retailer is provoking work stoppages across the country in a drive to slash the wages of its most experienced workers, but the longest labour conflicts have dragged on for periods of up to 14 months at three Loblaw stores in north-western Quebec.
Today, locked-out and striking workers at the Loblaws and Maxi stores in Rouyn-Noranda and the Provigo in Témiscaming are bringing their struggle to Toronto to highlight the refusal of Loblaw Companies Ltd. to negotiate in good faith.
"Loblaw sends us negotiators from Toronto without a mandate to negotiate," said Sylvain Nolet, a union advisor for the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), with whom the three unions are affiliated. "The employees and clients of Loblaw stores in our region have paid the price for many months, and today we're bringing this battle to the company's doorstep."
Workers from the three supermarkets are holding a series of events in Toronto today, beginning at the Loblaws store at 60 Carlton St. at 9:30 am. Another demonstration will take place at the Loblaws at 3501 Yonge St. in North York, before a final rally takes place at the Loblaw head office at 1 President's Choice Circle in Brampton at 12:15 pm.
Last June, the Quebec labour relations board fined Loblaw $5000, among other measures, for negotiating in bad faith with the union representing employees at a Rouyn-Noranda Loblaws outlet, as well as for interfering in union activities and for contravening the union members' Charter right to freedom of association. The union declared a legal strike June 10.
In Témiscaming, residents have been deprived of the town's only grocery store since Loblaw imposed a lock-out there last December. At the Maxi store in Rouyn-Noranda, Loblaw locked out its unionized staff in August 2012.
"This brinksmanship has lasted long enough," said Sylvain Nolet. "If Loblaw has a minimum of respect for its clientele and its employees, the company must put a little water in its wine. Loblaw needs to undertake serious negotiations in order to resolve these three labour conflicts."
For further information:
Lyle Stewart, CSN communications, 514 796-2066