Ten Safeway stores across the Lower Mainland will be closing, parent company Sobeys has announced on the eve of negotiations with the union that represents Safeway workers.
The workers’ union, UFCW 1518, said on its website that it received notice from Sobeys this morning (January 23) abruptly announcing the closures, which affects stores from Vancouver to Mission.
“This is an insult and an outrage,” said Ivan Limpright, president of UFCW 1518, which represents about 4500 Safeway employees.“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.
The union sees the move as a scare tactic and plans to fight against the permanent store closures.
“Our members have rights. Sobeys has demonstrated they have little respect for the collective agreement but we’ll be there, contract in hand, every step of the way,” says Limpright.
Safeway has responded to the union's comments and say they are receptive to beginning respectful negotations. However, the company says the union was not open to conversations regarding the stores' profitability before the closure notice was issued.
The chain’s grocery store locations slated for closure are:
- Lougheed Mall (Burnaby)
- City Square (Vancouver)
- Sunwood Square (Coquitlam)
- West Point Grey (Vancouver)
- Royal Oak (Burnaby)
- Blundel (Richmond)
- Broadmoor (Richmond)
- Newton Town Centre (Surrey)
- Strawberry Hills (Surrey)