03/30/2016 16:59 EDT | Updated 03/31/2017 01:12 EDT

Retailer ignites firestorm with complaints about undependable staff in Labrador

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. — A Labrador retailer says she has been flooded with calls from job-seekers after she went public with complaints about staff who regularly fail to show up for work at her stores — even when they're paid bonuses to do so.

Glenda Thistle says on any given day, almost half of the 11 people who work at her three convenience stores in Happy Valley-Goose Bay call in sick or simply don't show up.

Excuses have included: "My mom is cooking," "The hockey game is on," and, "I don't want to get in my cold car."

Thistle says it shows that some people in the small town have a poor work ethic, and she says some rely too heavily on the employment insurance system.

Mary Shortall, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, says people on EI have the right to refuse work if the job offered doesn't meet certain requirements.

As well, Shortall says it can be difficult finding people in Labrador willing to work at a pay scale just above the minimum wage because the cost of living there is so high.

The Canadian Press