A senior bags groceries at a Sumesa store. A senior bags groceries at a Sumesa store.

Grocery baggers are not Walmart employees, company says

It has an agreement with a government agency, which recruits seniors for a volunteer program

Walmart Mexico has clarified that senior citizens who bag groceries are not company employees.

The statement came in response to President López Obrador’s call last week for an investigation into what the grocery baggers are paid.

The retired senior citizens are engaged through an agreement with the National Institute for the Elderly (Inapam) which states that they are volunteers.

“The elderly citizens who work in our stores are part of a program of senior citizen volunteers. We signed an agreement with Inapam, which is in charge,” said company spokeswoman Gabriela Buenrostro.

At a press conference for Walmart’s “Irresistible Weekend” campaign, the store’s own version of the national shopping event called “Buen Fin” (Good Weekend), she said the workers receive government pensions.

“They are not Walmart employees. They are part of an Inapam program . . . retired people between the ages of 60 and 65 can have additional remuneration [through tips] in our stores and elsewhere in the industry.”

Seemingly unaware of the program, the president said the Labor Secretariat would intervene, calling it “a great injustice against the elderly on the part of Walmart.”

“The Labor Secretariat must intervene, it will intervene because all human beings have the right to a fair salary, it’s an enshrined right in the constitution,” he added.

The president said he had faith that Walmart executives would decide to pay the baggers now that the issue was being discussed in the media.

Most big-box grocery stores participate in the program.

Source: Forbes México (sp)

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