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Workers take to the picket line at Nestle chocolate plant in Toronto

Unifor says its members want improvements to the pension plan.
Unifor Nestle Strike Toronto May 2024
Photo: CNW Group/Unifor

Hundreds of Nestle workers walked off the job in Toronto on Sunday after rejecting a tentative agreement the union reached with the chocolate maker. 

Unifor issued a statement saying its 461 members who work as machine operators, bar packers, shippers and receivers, general labourers and in the skilled trades at the Toronto Nestle plant chose to go on strike on Sunday evening.

"Nestle workers in the past have gone on strike over pension contributions and again, it's at the crux of this dispute," says Unifor national president Lana Payne. "Retirement security is very important to our members, and you throw an affordability crisis on top of that, and it's no wonder our members are determined to fight here."

There are 461 Local 252 members at the Toronto Nestle plant, which produces Kit Kat, Aero, and Coffee Crisp chocolate bars, as well as Smarties. They work as machine operators, bar packers, shippers and receivers, general labourers, and in Skilled Trades.

Unifor says its members wanted improvements to the pension plan, and rejected a two-year freeze on a cost of living adjustment.

READ:  Nestlé reports full-year results for 2023

"As one of the biggest food and beverage manufacturers in the world, the company has a responsibility to make sure workers can have a decent income during these challenging economic times," adds Unifor Local 252 president Eamonn Clarke. "Members were not satisfied with the lack of improvements to pensions and a two-year COLA freeze. Our union will stand with our members as they continue to fight for a fair deal that shows them the respect they deserve."

Nestle Canada says it's disappointed workers rejected the tentative deal, and it plans to work with the union to get workers back on the job.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2024 with additional files from Unifor.

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