Living Wages for Loblaw Workers? Petition Calls on Canada's Largest Private Sector Company


A new petition launched by consumer rights activists called on Canada's largest private sector employer to raise wages.

More than 15,000 people have signed a petition at asking food retailer Loblaw Co. to increase the wages of workers to be "decent wages."

Campaigners said a number of factors were driving the petition, one of which was the decision of the Conservative Progressive Ontario government not to move forward with the planned increase in minimum wages, to $ 15 per hour, scheduled for this year.

Watch: Employment is still increasing. Some ideas about what to do. The story continues below.

The committee also chose Loblaw's chairman and CEO, Galen Weston Jr, who opposed the recent increase in minimum wages.

In 2017, Weston took heat from the advocacy group Leadnow after stating during a revenue call that rising minimum wages in Alberta and Ontario, set to take effect in 2018, would add $ 190 million to company costs. Leadnow said the move was intended to pressure the government not to raise minimum wages.

Weston, whose family has the third largest wealth in the country, is estimated to reach nearly $ 14 billion in 2017, pushing against last year's shareholder proposals which would require Loblaw Co. pay a living wage. The shareholders finally rejected the proposal.

Previously at HuffPost Canada:

Activists do not think of certain wages, because living wages vary from place to place. This is defined only as the income needed to provide a "decent" standard of living, which covers all important costs such as food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and health care.

The Ontario Living Wage Network estimates that living wages are $ 21.75 in Toronto, and $ 16.05 in Thunder Bay.

Loblaw Co. has many retail chains throughout the country, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstores, T & T Supermarkets, Valu-Mart, No Frills and Zehrs. This is the largest private sector company in Canada, with 122,000 people on the payroll, according to data collected by Globe and Mail.

In a statement to Canadian Grocer magazine, a spokesman for Loblaw noted the company's status as a large company and said the company had "very constructive relations with our colleagues and their union, including detailed conversations about compensation and justice."

& # 39; own boss & # 39;

Angus Wong, one of the organizers of the petition, noted that the consumer group had also pressed Loblaw Co. to separate the role of chairman and CEO, both of which are now carried out by Weston. That made Weston "his own boss," said Wong.

Such arrangements can mean less effective oversight, making it easier for things like the 2017 bread price fixing scandal.

"From a shareholders' perspective, you want a number of checks and balances," Wong told HuffPost Canada by telephone.

The next step in this campaign was "trying to communicate with Loblaw" about the issue of living wages, said Wong, before deciding on further actions.


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