Nestlé Canada workers strike at Toronto chocolate plant

Strike action related to the company's use and treatment of temporary workers compared to unionized employees.

May 2, 2017   by PLANT Staff

Toronto — More than 360 workers have set up picket lines at a Nestlé Canada manufacturing plant in Toronto after contract negotiations between Unifor Local 252 and the chocolate giant broke down.

“This is a highly profitable multi-national corporation that is relying on the use of temporary agency workers to essentially do full-time work,” said Paul Shiels, President of Unifor Local 252. “Our members believe it’s unfair to their fellow workers, who do the same job standing shoulder-to-shoulder while being paid less, with no pension and limited benefits.”

The workers, who manufacture Kit Kat, Aero, Coffee Crisp and Smarties at the facility in Toronto’s west-end, have been in a legal strike position since April 30, but members of the bargaining committee continued to negotiate with the employer until early May 1.

“Full-time work should mean a full-time job,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Precarious work, and specifically the use of temporary workers in a permanent full-time capacity, is a growing problem.”

In addition to the classification of temporary employees, Nestlé workers are also seeking improvements to wages and benefits.

Negotiations are scheduled to resume on May 2.

The company argues it doesn’t engage temporary agency workers, but that temporary employees are part of its bargaining unit and are necessary to supplement the seasonal nature of the confectionery business.

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