Popular grocery chain Loblaws has long been a favourite in Canada when it comes to buying food, drinks and now even clothes and accessories with the Joe Fresh apparel line. Unfortunately, it seems ever since the bread scandal, Loblaws has been struggling to earn Canadians' trust back, and their latest moves surrounding the fair wage debate have only made things worse.
Back in May, Loblaws had decided to reject a proposal regarding living wages for their employees. Such wages would vary depending on the location where sufficient compensation for the area would be calculated and administered at an hourly rate. Influencing factors would be common expenses such as transportation, housing, food and childcare.
The proposal had been submitted at the time by Vancity Investment Management Ltd. at a shareholder meeting but the board of directors at Loblaw's suggested to other shareholders to shoot the proposal down. They claimed that the proposal oversimplifies wage issues and would limit the company from being as flexible as it needs to be. The proposal, in the end, was voted down.
Since then, a petition has popped up called "Loblaw: Support Fair Wages For Your Workers." As of now the petition has over 16,648 signatures and is only 3,352 supporters short of their 20,000 goal.
Considering that Loblaws Co. owns a range of other retailers throughout Canada ranging from Shoppers Drug Mart to No Frills, Zehrs and T&T Supermarkets, if Loblaws adopted living wages practices, their roster of 122,000 employees would be the beneficiaries. The fluctuation between a livable wage could be as drastic as Toronto employees earning $21.75 an hour while in Thunder Bay workers would receive $16.05 in relation to their average local expenses.
With the petition picking up momentum, the people behind the movement are looking to make their next move. According to the Huffington Post who spoke with Angus Wong, one of the organizers of the petition, they are hoping to "try to communicate with Loblaw" on the situation. For now, Canadians will just have to wait and see where the chips fall.
To check out the petition and possibly sign it yourself you can click here for more information.