HALIFAX — Calls are mounting for the return of hazard pay as workers on the front lines of Canada’s retail industry grow increasingly anxious amid rising COVID-19 cases.
While some companies offered so-called hero pay to essential workers at the outset of the pandemic, most wage premiums ended after the first wave.
Yet retail workers say morale is lagging as COVID-19 cases spike across much of the country.
Some companies have preemptively addressed the issue, with Lowe’s Canada and The Home Depot continuing to pay workers bonuses and Chapman’s Ice Cream making its pandemic pay raise permanent.
Tim Deelstra, a spokesman for UFCW Canada, says some of the union’s members have been attacked by customers who don’t want to follow the rules on wearing masks or physical distancing.
He says a pay bump is needed to recognize the ongoing efforts and risks taken by front-line workers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.
The Canadian Press