(Save On Foods/Facebook)

The union representing employees at Save-On-Foods grocery stores across western Canada says they are “shocked and disappointed” to learn that the company is ending the extra hazard pay program instated due to staff having to work through a global pandemic.

On Tuesday, Save-On-Foods announced that the $2/hour pay boost for workers would come to an end on May 30, eliciting a strong response from UFCW 1518.

Instead of hazard pay, employees will be able to choose between getting 10 per cent off their groceries or 30x their More Rewards points as a long term replacement that will remain in place at least until the end of 2020.

In a statement to Victoria Buzz, a representative of the grocery chain stated that “the value of this new team member discount program far exceeds the value of the short-term hourly bonus”.

“We recognize the fight against this pandemic is far from over, but we’re all in this together and we’ll get through this together.”

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

In response, UFCW 1518 issued a statement and letter to the employer arguing that it is too soon to end the Pandemic Premium.

“BC is only beginning to relax its pandemic response this week, and the crisis is far from over, especially for front line workers,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak in a statement.

“There remains a lot of uncertainty around what could happen in the coming months. Meanwhile, Save-On-Foods members continue to assume risks by showing up to work every day. Ongoing recognition for that commitment is the least these workers deserve. It is just too soon to end the Pandemic Premium.”

Union leaders have collectively written an open letter addressed to Save-On-Foods President Darrell Jones and to The Jim Pattison Group calling for the reinstatement of the pay boost.

The company announced the temporary hazard pay for workers on March 20, retroactive to March 8.

There are 178 Save-On-Foods locations across Western Canada.


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