Provigo: Laval warehouse goes to Ontario

More than 545 workers at the Provigo warehouse in Laval learned yesterday, three weeks before the expiration of their collective agreement, that they will lose their jobs in favor of an ultra-modern center in Ontario.

" It's difficult. It annoys us. I’m going to be forced to retire prematurely, Jean-Pierre Girard, 60, a trucker visibly shaken by the announcement of his big bosses in Ontario, dropped yesterday when he left the warehouse parking lot. They gave no explanation. "

The Loblaw company, owner of the Loblaws, Provigo, Maxi and Pharmaprix brands, announced yesterday morning the closure of its huge non-perishable food warehouse employing more than 545 workers in Laval by next year.

"The collective agreement expired on February 1, when it is certain that all that we had as a negotiation strategy goes to the trash," deplored Roxanne Larouche, spokesman for the Workers' union Food and Commerce (TUAC).

"Outdated Center"

Operations there will be transferred to a fully automated center under construction in Ontario.

"It is a relocation. They are going to Cornwall, unlike Sobeys [IGA] which had made its automation by closing a warehouse to open another in Quebec, "she continued.

“We hoped that modernization would be done here. We knew it had to be done one day, "railed an employee with 14 years of seniority, who did not want to identify himself.

Loblaw’s spokeswoman in Quebec, Johanne Héroux, confirmed yesterday that the company gave up on its Laval warehouse because it had become “obsolete”.

She said Loblaw already has a modern center in Cornwall, which is currently being expanded for its Pharmaprix stores.

"For us, it became very logical to simply transfer the volume there rather than starting from scratch with a new center in Quebec," said Ms. Héroux.

Boucherville in safety

In addition, she was reassuring about the other warehouse of 600 workers in Boucherville, which is not likely to close because it was renovated just five years ago.

This is not the first time that Loblaw warehouses have struggled in the province.

In 2010, the management of the Armand-Viau (Provigo) warehouse in Quebec City had declared a lockout even before the employees' vote on the latest employer offer.

"From now on, Provigo is over. We have to move on, "said Jean-Marc Deshommes, a father and trucker who earns about $ 30 an hour, yesterday.

For him, the shock is brutal because he thinks he's having a hard time finding a job with such good benefits.

Reactions in Quebec

The Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity, Jean Boulet, yesterday expressed his support for employees and their families.

"I'm going to make sure that Loblaw makes the necessary efforts to help employees find new jobs in its stores. We are going to help [the others] get back into the job market as quickly as possible, "he told a press briefing in Quebec.

He also insisted that these employees will benefit from all the services offered in cases of collective redundancies.

SOURCE: Journal de Montréal 

Back to news list