Colluding grocery chains end pandemic pay for frontline workers, but execs still work from home

Clean up on Aisle 5!

Can you believe it? Canada’s grocery oligopoly – Loblaw Companies Ltd., Metro Inc., and Empire Co. Ltd – well, they are apparently up to more sneaky tricks when it comes to collusion chicanery.

You may recall that these grocers got caught colluding in order to fix the price of bread for some 14 years. Hey, business is business, after all. And besides, a lot of us schlubs got one of those $25 whiz-bang gift cards as compensation so no harm done.

And of course, the Justin Trudeau Liberals awarded Loblaws’ thievery with a $12 million grant so that it could buy new refrigerators last year. And you thought crime didn’t pay? Ha.

In any event, you would think that these grocers, after getting caught with their collective hands in the cookie jar, would be on their best behaviour moving forward. Well, apparently not…

Because you may also remember how these grocers dropped their $2 an hour “pandemic pay bonus” last month to all their employees working in grocery stores because apparently, the pandemic is over (yeah, that pandemic-is-over thingy comes as news to us, too.) 

But the thing is, this pandemic pay bonus program ended almost simultaneously at each company. Surely a coincidence, right? Well, that’s what the CEOs for the three companies told members of Parliament recently when they were grilled by a House of Commons committee.

That there was no collusion, that the pandemic pay bonus plan ending almost simultaneously was just a… fluke. Are you buying that? Because methinks the odds of such a thing happening would make even the most reckless gambler cringe.

We visited the Brampton, Ontario headquarters of Loblaw Companies Ltd. to get answers.

But lo and behold, aside from some security personnel, the palatial Loblaw HQ located at 1 President’s Choice Circle was empty!

Indeed, we were informed that nearly everyone at head office was working from home virtually.

Isn’t that fascinating? Collusion aside, if you are a Loblaw executive who normally toils at head office, the pandemic is still a clear and present danger; but if you happen to be a frontline retail worker, somehow the grocery stores are miraculously free of the coronavirus and thus, danger pay is no longer required.

Do these guys have any shame at all?