Wal-Mart to close store with unionised staff

Wal-Mart is to close a store in Canada where workers have won the right to trade union recognition.

The world’s largest retailer said its store in Jonquiere, Quebec, would close in May.

The store became the first unionised Wal-Mart store in North America last year when the employees were recognised as a bargaining unit by Quebec’s labour officials.

Wal-Mart spokesman Andrew Pelletier told Associated Press: “We were hoping it wouldn’t come to this. Despite nine days of meetings over three months, we’ve been unable to reach an agreement with the union that in our view will allow the store to operate efficiently and profitably.

“It has struggled from the beginning. The situation has continued to deteriorate since the union [was recognised],” he said. “The store environment became very fractured because there were some people who were part of the union and some who were not.”

Michael Fraser, national director of UFCW Canada, said: “Wal-Mart has fired these workers not because the store was losing money but because the workers exercised their right to join a union. Once again, Wal-Mart has decided it is above the law and that the only rules that count are its rules.”

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