(Toronto) Grocery workers are more determined than ever to win higher wages and better working conditions, says Unifor, which today launches a two-year period of negotiations for more than a dozen collective agreements in this sector.

Those operations will begin next week with negotiations for a contract covering 3,700 workers at the Greater Toronto Area grocer Metro, who have already voted 100% in favor of a strike if a deal cannot be reached.

Unifor National President Lana Payne said the strike vote sends a clear signal, not just to Metro, but to the three grocery giants, that their workers have had enough.

Payne said workers have seen the quality of their jobs erode over time, and inflation is eating away at their wages even as grocers post strong profits.

She adds that the pandemic has shown how essential grocery store workers are, noting that several of them received what has been dubbed a “hero’s bounty” at the start of the crisis, only to have it taken away by the police. following.

Payne believes the pandemic has also made Canadians more aware of grocery workers and what they face, and that this will translate into public support and sympathy as workers negotiate with grocers.