Modest Wage Increases Characterize Deals

Westfair competition clause modified to raise wage cap
By Gordon Sova
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 01/18/2011

The pattern of wage increases for employees of supermarket chain Westfair Foods in British Columbia is not unusual: a wage freeze in one year, lump sums in two, off-scale wage increases in two, and both a lump sum and an off-scale increase in one year. The five-year deal came 16 months after the previous agreement expired.

The “competitive effect clause,” a provision intended to allow the company to adjust the wage structure to compete with a Sam’s Club or Supercentre type store opening in the vicinity, has been amended. The clause allows the company to allocate 75 per cent of hours in the store to Food Clerk Trainees. Previously, their wages were capped at $12.50 per hour. The new agreement caps them at $14.34. Provisions for buy-downs of up to $75,000 for full-time employees and $15,000 for part-time are in place where a store is converted to a Your Independent Grocer banner.

The new collective agreement for support staff at the University of Montreal provides only COLA for the next four years. The contract reference’s the government of Quebec’s salary increase policy to calculate what the rate will be. The president of the local stated that preservation of the status quo was her aim in these negotiations. However, assuring the stability of the pension plan will benefit older workers and an increase to SUB benefits will help younger ones. “In short, each generation will find something for itself here,” she concluded.