Nunavut food retailer gives raise to front-line staff
Front-line workers at NorthMart, Northern stores receive $2/hour increase
Front-line workers at the North West Company’s grocery stores in Nunavut will receive a temporary $2/hour raise, retroactive from March 8 until April 4.
Front line workers means cashiers, stock clerks, pharmacist technicians and store supervisors, said Alex Yeo, the president of Canadian retail for the company.
The North West Co., which owns Iqaluit’s NorthMart and 20 Northern stores across the territory, announced the raise on Monday, March 23.
The decision matches the pay raises offered several days ago by two of Canada’s largest food retailers, Loblaws and Metro, to staff working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The North West Co. said the increase will help compensate workers who have to keep stores clean and sanitized, enforce social distancing measures, and deal with surges in demand since COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency in the territory.
Yeo said the temporary raise will mean that employees across Nunavut will now be making ten to 15 per cent more per hour, depending on their position, and the community they’re in.
“It’s really a way to thank our employees for the extra work they’ve been taking on,” Yeo said.
The raise will be evaluated on April 4, and continued if necessary, Yeo said, depending on the state of COVID-19 at that time, and if employees’ workloads continue to be higher than usual.
Nunavut’s grocers have said that there is no need to panic buy groceries and supplies, because they are continuing to receive regular deliveries to communities.
However, the North West Co. says its stores have been “incredibly busy” over the last few weeks as people prepare for isolation and quarantine.