Grocers such as Walmart de Mexico have started bowing to strain to withdraw from stores 1000’s of elderly employees who pack bags at checkouts as concerns grow about their vulnerability to COVID-19 amid panic buying nationwide.
Some 35,000 elderly Mexicans, most between 60 and 74 years old, pack groceries at Walmart outlets and other chains through a government-supported volunteer program, earning simple tips.
This system, already challenged by labor activists, is below renewed scrutiny as fears about coronavirus have prompted many Mexicans to self-isolate and work at home.
On Friday afternoon, Walmart de Mexico stated it would suspend the program, following a large online petition and a story about mounting stress on the grocer, which is the largest in Mexico.
Walmart de Mexico further stated it might provide the staff “financial assistance,” however, it didn’t present details.
The corporate previously stated it might keep bag packers in its outlets in keeping with recommendations from the government’s National Institute for Elderly People (INAPAM), which manages the program and had been reluctant to adopt steps that will hurt workers’ incomes.
Mexican grocery store network Soriana stopped utilizing the elderly volunteers Friday and stated it would ask buyers to leave donations for the volunteers, which the company would match.