Unifor has reached a tentative deal on behalf of almost 1,300 No Frills workers across Ontario, the union said Sunday, averting a looming strike that was set to get underway in less than 24 hours.
The union had announced the strike deadline on Thursday, calling for higher wages and better working conditions for employees at 17 stores. The job action could have started as early as Monday.
No Frills is the discount grocery banner owned by Loblaw Cos. Ltd., the largest grocery company in Canada.
"No Frills workers knew that the public would have their back in their demand for their fair share of Loblaw’s enormous profits," said Gord Currie, Unifor Local 414 president.
"Workers made it very clear that they were ready to strike, if necessary, in order to achieve our necessary demands for decent work and pay."
The 17 stores include locations in Toronto, Whitby, Ont., Niagara Falls, Ont. and elsewhere.
Unifor previously cited growing profits at Loblaw amid the rising cost of living as the reason for their wage demands, saying workers were fed up with the disparity between their pay and the company’s earnings.
The No Frills workers -- most of which are part-time -- will now vote on the tentative deal from Monday to Saturday. Details of the deal were not released due to the coming vote.
"Our bargaining committee at No Frills was determined to build on what grocery store workers had achieved this past summer with Metro,” Unifor National President Lana Payne said in a statement.
"This tentative agreement delivers pattern wages and many other improvements for our members."
Loblaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Metro workers at 27 stores across the Toronto area reached a five-year deal after a month-long strike this past summer.
About 2,700 workers there got an immediate raise of $1.50 an hour. full-time and senior part-time workers will get an additional 50-cent raise in January, bringing their total pay increase over the coming months to $2-an-hour.