Loblaw averts Saskatchewan strike, Alberta looms

Fri Oct 3, 2008 6:47pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A tentative agreement has been reached to avert a strike at operations of Loblaw Cos Ltd, Canada's biggest supermarket chain, in Saskatchewan but a work stoppage is still threatened in Alberta, the union said on Friday.

The tentative agreement in Saskatchewan was reached after the sides bargained through the night. The United Food and Commercial Workers union had threatened to set up picket lines Saturday if no deal was reached.

Details of the agreement were not released pending meetings with workers, but the company dropped a demand for a clause that would have allowed it to reduce wages at individual stores if a competitor located a new facility nearby, said Paul Meinema, president of UFCW Local 1400.

The company was not immediately available for comment.

The workers are employed at Loblaw stores operating under the names Extra Foods, Real Canadian Superstores and Real Canadian Wholesale. The workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan negotiate separately.

In Alberta, the union said workers will strike in Edmonton on Monday and in Calgary on Tuesday. It said the company had presented an offer that improved wages but did not meet demands in areas such as night shift premiums.

Loblaw, Canada's biggest grocer, reached a tentative settlement with its unionized employees in Manitoba last week.

(Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Peter Galloway)