Walmart’s grocery baggers will be allowed to return to their duties after they were sent home last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and asked not to come back in December due to a change in customer preferences.
Some 35,000 Mexicans, most aged between 60 and 74, packed groceries for tips through a government-backed volunteer program before the pandemic.
Walmart confirmed that correspondence with the National Institute for the Elderly (Inapam) and the Ministry of Economic Development of Mexico City had helped to resolve the matter. “Where the epidemiological traffic light is green, older adults who are already fully vaccinated are allowed to resume their work as volunteer packers,” it said in a statement.
The supermarket chain had previously announced that the positions were unavailable based on sanitary reasons. “We have observed that our clients want to avoid third parties having contact with the merchandise,” it said at the end of last year.
Dozens of affected seniors marched on the National Palace last week, demanding that the president aid their cause, and customers joined a boycott in support with the hashtag #YoNoComproEnWalmart (“I don’t buy from Walmart”).
Heeding their call, the president said officials would speak to the retailer.
Walmart has assured customers that any assistance from the grocery baggers is entirely optional. “For customers who prefer to continue packing their purchases, they will be able to let our cashiers know,” the retailer said.
The U.S. supermarket giant has 10,526 stores and clubs in 24 countries, operating under 48 different names. In Mexico it sells through Walmart, Walmart Express, Superama y Bodega Aurrerá.