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Toronto-area Metro distribution centre workers sign new collective agreement, end strike action

A woman walks pass a Metro grocery store in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. Unifor says it has reached a tentative agreement with Metro Inc. covering more than 900 full-time workers at a Toronto-area distribution centre. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives

Toronto-area Metro warehouse workers who have been on strike for several days are set to return to the job.

In a press release issued Friday, Unifor said members at Metro Distribution Centre warehouses negotiated “significant wage gains” in a new collective agreement, effectiely “ending a seven-day strike action.”

Read more: Workers at Metro distribution centre off job in second grocery strike in 2 months

The more than 900 workers went on strike on April 2, after rejecting a tentative agreement between the union and Metro Inc.

Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi, said the agreement “achieves the best maximum pay rate and fastest progression in the industry.”

“There is no doubt that it will raise the bar for warehouse workers across Ontario,” Rizvi said in a statement in the release.

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Rizvi said Unifor has “negotiated and inflation beating increase of more than 8 per cent on average in the first year” as well as “pension and benefit wins.”

Read more: Striking Metro workers to vote on tentative agreement Friday

According to the release, the more than 900 workers at the Metro warehouse distribution centres will receive an average wage increase of 15.8 per cent over 4.5 years.

Unifor Local 414 Unit Chairperson Frank Reynolds, said this agreement “reflects the level of respect” that the workers deserve and “ensures that our members will continue to lead the warehouse sector.”

According to Unifor, under the new agreement, the workers will receive a $2.25 per hour increase in the first year, paid retroactively to Oct. 24, 2021.

The members will also see higher premiums for freezer work, shortened wage progression to reach the maximum rate, and pension and benefit improvements.

In a statement emailed to Global News, Metro Inc. said the company is “pleased” to announce that the members had ratified the new 4.5 year collective agreement.

“We are pleased to have reached what we believe is a fair and reasonable outcome, “ Carmen Fortino, Executive Vice President, Ontario Division Head and National Supply Chain, Metro Ontario Inc., said in a statement. “Our distribution centre employees enjoy competitive working conditions, and the new contract maintains those standards.”

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