Sobeys plans to close 10 Safeway stores in British Columbia, according to a report issued by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1518 in the province.
According to the union, Sobeys has indicated that if it gets favourable terms and conditions for its FreshCo discount banner, it may open FreshCo stores at five of the closed Safeway locations.
Approximately 1,000 people will be impacted by the store closures, according to Ivan Lipright, president of UFCW 1518.
“Hundreds of our members will lose their jobs. Hundreds more will be displaced through the transfer process. And Sobeys barely gave us a courtesy call,” he said. “That won’t fly in bargaining, though. We’ve told the company that we need all of the information on decisions they’ve made that will impact our members. It’s time to stop the games and start respectful negotiations.”
Sobeys spokesperson Jacquelin Corrado said in a statement to Grocery Business magazine that the company had invited Union Local 1518 to the table “to review stores that are under financial pressure in June and then again in October of last year, so that we could talk about ways to help our unprofitable stores turn the corner to protect jobs and continue to serve our customers. Unfortunately they declined to engage in the conversation both times.
“We’re looking forward to the upcoming negotiations and agree 100 per cent with the union statement that it’s time for respectful dialogue. We agree with the union that it’s time to stop the games and start respectful negotiations.”
She adds that Sobeys is “always open to working with the unions or any of our stakeholders to make our stores more successful.”
The Safeway locations slated for closure in the province include:
Lougheed Mall, City Square, Sunwood Square, Point Grey, Royal Oak, Blundel, Broadmoor, Newton Town Centre, Strawberry Hills and Mission.