Canada's biggest grocers defend decisions to end premium COVID-19 pay for workers

FILE PHOTO: A general view of Loblaw Companies Limited Executive Chairman Galen G. Weston speaking during the annual general meeting of shareholders is seen in Toronto, May 2, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s biggest grocery chains on Friday defended the mid-June end of premium wages for workers, saying the extra pay was temporary and that, despite some courtesy communication among them, the decisions to terminate them had been made independently.

Executives from Loblaw Companies, Empire Cos and Metro Inc, in testimony before a parliamentary committee, said that the additional pay was introduced when lockdowns began and ended when they began to ease.

Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Sandra Maler