How many years would it take a supermarket worker to earn Galen Weston’s salary?

Apr 6 2023, 2:38 pm

The head of Loblaw Companies Ltd., Galen Weston, got a big raise last year, earning a salary that the average Canadian grocery store worker could only dream of.

Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, released a report revealing how many years a supermarket employee would have to work to earn Weston’s 2022 salary.

The number is depressing.

According to the study, it would take them a whopping 340 years to earn the Loblaw CEO’s total compensation of $11.79 million last year.

“It is twisted that any analysis can find that billionaire grocery baron Galen Weston needs even more money when Loblaw refuses to pay many of its front-line workers a living wage and continues to deny full-time jobs,” said Lana Payne, Unifor national president, in a statement.

“I understand the pressures that come with leadership, and you cannot for a second convince me that such an increase for one of Canada’s richest people is justified.”

These findings come days after The Globe and Mail uncovered that the supermarket magnate’s pay increased by $1.2 million in 2022.

Unifor got its results by looking at the average grocery worker’s salary in the country. According to Statistics Canada, they earned $18.97 per hour in 2022.

Working a full 35-hour week, with annual earnings of $34,525, it would take more than 340 years to make Weston’s 2022 earnings, according to the analysis.

“Workers in his stores can’t afford the groceries they sell anymore, yet it seems that culturally we are fine with the idea of paying one person the equivalent of generations of workers’ wages in one year, every year,” said Sharon Walsh, Unifor retail sector director, in a statement.

Weston isn’t the only grocery chain CEO that got a major pay bump last year.

Unifor’s report says compensation increases for other major grocers are “similarly out of touch with workers’ earnings.”

Metro CEO Eric La Flèche was paid $5.3 million in total compensation in 2022, up from his 2021 earnings of just over $5 million, according to the analysis.

Empire Company, which operates Safeway, Sobeys, FreshCo, Foodland and other grocery brands, paid its CEO Michael Medline more than $8.6 million in total compensation last year, up from just over $7.4 million the year before.

Payne says that Unifor grocery workers are at the bargaining table with Loblaw, Metro and Sobeys this year.

“Let’s see if these companies are as generous with their frontline workers as they are to their executives,” she stated.

Unifor represents 20,000 workers in Canada’s retail sector, including in supermarkets and warehouses owned and affiliated with Loblaw, Metro and Sobeys.

Isabelle DoctoIsabelle Docto

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