KITCHENER -- The LCBO has allegedly refused to give its employees a pay increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the union representing its workers is calling for the termination of the Crown corporation’s management.

“Throughout this crisis we’ve had to drag the LCBO kicking and screaming to protect its front-line workers who are keeping the place open,” says OPSEU president Warren “Smokey” Thomas. “These LCBO bosses are drunk with power and a sense of entitlement, and they’re out of touch with the workers who are getting the job done.”

The LCBO has been deemed an essential service.

But unlike some other essential services, employees are not getting a pay increase.

Premier Doug Ford announced Saturday that some public sector workers would get a $4 an hour pay hike in recognition for their service.

OPSEU feels the LCBO should follow the Premier’s lead. The union says they contacted management to ask for a “modest” pay increase, though they have not indicated how much they requested.

In a press release they claim Labour Relations Director Darren Harper dismissed the idea and “cited costs for health and safety measures that were recently brought in.” They go on to say that “those measures only came after OPSEU tirelessly fought with the LCBO for the protection of the frontline workers.”

The LCBO has not yet responded to the allegations made by OPSEU.

In a press release from earlier this month, the LCBO said they have increased cleaning and sanitization measures, increased physical distancing protocols in stores, installed plexiglass barriers and given employees the option to wear a face shield.

They also say they have implemented paid compassionate leave for staff members dealing with COVID-19.

OPSEU says it’s not enough.

“It shows how out of touch the one per cent in the LCBO corporate suite is if they think that in-store protective measures are the same as recognizing workers’ courageous efforts,” says Thomas.

OPSEU is also upset with the LCBO’s decision over warehouse workers. They allege those who need to self-isolate at home due to COVID-19 are being sent home without pay.