A strike planned on Friday, Sept. 4 at a West Kelowna Walmart has been postponed. (Bloomberg photo by Patrick T. Fallon)

A strike planned on Friday, Sept. 4 at a West Kelowna Walmart has been postponed. (Bloomberg photo by Patrick T. Fallon)

West Kelowna Walmart strike postponed

Nain Martinez says he and his colleagues will work with the company towards a solution

A strike at a West Kelowna Walmart has been postponed until further notice.

Nain Martinez had planned to go on strike on Friday, Sept. 4, over several grievances with the company, but now, he and his fellow workers are attempting to work with the company towards a solution.

“At this stage, we would like to work collaboratively with our teammates and Walmart to find solutions to the problems at our store,” said Martinez.

“These problems, including the cancellation of the $2 per hour pandemic pay, the practice of booking workers for just under full-time hours to avoid paying benefits, uneven wage increases that leave long-term staff short-changed, and a culture of silencing workers that discuss pay equity, are not confined to our store. They happen at Walmart locations across the country.”

READ MORE: West Kelowna Walmart employee planning strike over pandemic pay, wage inequality

As an example, Martinez said he began working at the store in March, earning a wage of $14.70 per hour despite having no previous experience working with produce. Six months later, he’s now making $15.05 per hour, a wage he said is comparable to that of senior employees with more than 10 years of experience.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to find a solution through dialogue with management,” said Martinez, “but if we can’t, we’re willing to take action and fight for fairness at our workplace.”

In response to Martinez’s allegations outlined in a Capital News article in mid-August, Walmart Canada said it provides competitive compensation packages to its employees and all hourly associates across the country make more than minimum wage.

“Earlier this year, we accelerated $16 million in bonus payments for hourly associates. Hourly associate bonuses are typically paid out in one payment following the store’s yearly performance,” said Felicia Fefer, Walmart Canada’s corporate affairs manager.

“In addition, we are offering multiple enhanced discount days throughout the summer, where associates can enjoy an added discount on their purchases, on top of their existing regular associate discount. Additionally, we’re offering access to live online physician care for all 90,000 associates at no cost so that they can get the advice and care they need.”

READ MORE: Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

READ MORE: Unions tell MPs that grocery workers should still have pandemic pay

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


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