Frontline grocery workers at 27 Metro stores across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) launched strike action on 29 July 2023 after rejecting a tentative deal.

The strike will affect Metro stores in Brampton, Brantford, Etobicoke, Islington, Milton, Mississauga, Newmarket, North York, Oakville, Orangeville, Scarborough, Toronto and Willowdale.

In a statement, Unifor said that around 3,700 members of Unifor Local 414 voted to reject a tentative collective agreement.

Members comprise both full and part-time store clerks in all departments, including cashiers, department managers, pharmacy employees and Starbucks staff. 

Unifor National president Lana Payne said: “This decision to go on strike comes after years of these workers being nickelled and dimed while facing increased precarity and eroded job quality. It comes after having pandemic pay stripped away. It comes at a time of record profits and soaring CEO compensation.

“It comes at a time when life has become simply unaffordable for so many of these workers who risked their health and safety during the pandemic. We brought the tentative agreement to our members because it contained considerable gains, but our members are clear that it simply isn’t enough.”

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During the strike, the retailer will close all 27 Metro stores. However, pharmacies in the impacted locations will remain open.

In response, Metro Ontario, a subsidiary of Metro, expressed disappointment with the decision of unionised employees.

According to the retailer, the agreement was unanimously recommended by the union bargaining committee.

In a statement, Metro said: “The company has been negotiating with the union for the past few weeks and reached a fair and equitable agreement that meets the needs of our employees and our customers while ensuring that Metro remains competitive.

“The settlement provided significant increases for employees in all four years of the agreement, as well as pension and benefits improvements for all employees, including part-time employees.