Striking Metro employees reach new deal

Warehouse employees at Metro’s Etobicoke location are back to work today after a week of strike action.

After members voted down the tentative agreement first reached by the Unifor 414 bargaining team and Metro Ontario, a strike mandate persisted among the over 900 warehouse workers with the two sides back at the table for much of Thursday.

On Friday afternoon, both the company and striking members announced ratification of the four and a half year deal.

“We are pleased to have reached what we believe is a fair and reasonable outcome,” said Carmen
Fortino, Executive Vice President, Ontario Division Head and National Supply Chain, Metro Ontario Inc.

“Our distribution center employees enjoy competitive working conditions, and the new contract
maintains those standards.”

Kingston’s 3 Metro and 3 Food Basics locations are all serviced by the Etobicoke distribution center, but as of Thursday at least the stores were experiencing no glaring food shortages.

Many stores in the GTA however had certainly felt the impact this week.

Workers will see improvements to pension and benefits as well as an 8% increase in wages retroactive to October 24, 2021, up from 6% in the previously offered deal.

Workers will also be getting higher premiums for freezer work and a shorter progression to reach max wage rate

In a statement, Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi says the increase accounts for inflation and then some, raising the bar for working conditions of warehouse employees.

“This collective agreement achieves the best maximum pay rate and fastest progression in the industry. There is no doubt that it will raise the bar for warehouse workers across Ontario,” Rizvi said.

“Unifor has negotiated an inflation beating increase of more than 8% on average in the first year in addition to pension and benefit wins.”

Employees are set to receive an average 15.8% wage increase over the entire 4.5 year agreement.

Metro as a company boasted unprecedented revenue growth over the last two years, and their decision to roll back $2 pandemic pay was cited as a frustration for striking members.

The strike action among warehouse employees lasted for seven days.

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