President of Ontario Federation of Labour Chris Buckley addresses protesters outside a Tim Hortons Franchise in Toronto on Wednesday January 10, 2018. Labour organizations across Ontario are holding rallies today to protest the actions some Tim Hortons franchises have taken in response to an increase in the province’s minimum wage. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Protest against Tim Hortons planned across Ontario today

Labour organizations across Ontario are holding rallies today to protest the actions some Tim Hortons franchises have taken

Labour organizations across Ontario are holding rallies today to protest the actions some Tim Hortons franchises have taken in response to an increase in the province’s minimum wage.

Since the rate rose to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, several franchisees have announced they’re reducing employee benefits and eliminating paid breaks.

They say doing so is a necessary measure to help offset the added costs of the minimum wage increase.

But labour groups describe the company as “wildly profitable” and argue Tim Hortons and its parent company can afford to pay employees at the new rate without taking away previous perks.

Protests have been scheduled at more than a dozen Tim Hortons locations across the province throughout the day.

Organizers say they hope the rallies will send a message to Tim Hortons and its parent company — Restaurant Brands International.

“Head office has the means to ensure that these reprisals against workers are reversed, and we are calling on them to do so immediately,” said Pam Frache, Ontario co-ordinator of a campaign for higher minimum wage dubbed Fight for $15 and Fairness. “And we are not going to stop, actually, until they make this happen. We need to make it right for these employees.”

The rallies come a day after a social media campaign sprang up encouraging people to boycott Tim Hortons in order to show solidarity with the workers.

The campaign urged patrons to take part in “No Timmies Tuesday” on Jan. 9 and instead visit independent coffee shops.

Protesters have said they want the boycott to put pressure on the corporation and franchisees to reintroduce the scaled-back benefits.

But who should take responsibility for that is at the heart of the latest round of finger-pointing in an ongoing blame game between some franchisees and their corporate parent. They have publicly sparred over alleged mismanagement and filed several lawsuits against each other in recent months.

Tim Hortons has said individual franchisees are responsible for setting employee wages and benefits, while complying with applicable laws. But some franchisees argue the corporation, which controls prices, should help owners grappling with the mandated wage hike.

The Great White North Franchisee Association, which represents half of Canadian Tim Hortons franchisees, said the minimum wage hike and other changes to the province’s labour laws will cost the average franchisee $243,889 a year.

The association said it hoped Restaurant Brands International would lower supply costs or raise prices. When it did not, the association said, many franchisees were “left no alternative but to implement cost saving measures in order to survive.”

Tim Hortons fired back, saying such cuts “do not reflect the values of our brand, the views of our company, or the views of the overwhelming majority” of restaurant owners. The chain called the cuts reckless and completely unacceptable, adding staff “should never be used to further an agenda or be treated as just an ‘expense.’”

Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Shuswap bottle drive to support pediatric cancer research

Young cancer patient doing her best to help others with the disease that hits one in 333 kids

Regional district directors’ pay conflict resolved in new bylaw

11th-hour attempt for more by CSRD electoral area directors fails

Iconic Shuswap sternwheeler undergoing work for return to service

Sicamous business owner Mike Helfrick hopes to offer dinner tours on historic vessel

Salmon Arm Silverbacks on a hot streak at Bauer BCHL showcase

Shuswap skaters put up back-to-back wins against Victoria, Alberni Valley

In photos: Ready, set, roll!

Friendship Day Soap Box Derby excitement in downtown Salmon Arm

Weekday weather update

A look at your Okanagan-Shuswap weekday weather for Sept. 24

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

B.C. pharmacist suspended for giving drugs with human placenta

RCMP had samples of the seized substances tested by Health Canada

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Harvest Moon to light up B.C. skies with an ‘autumn hue’

It’s the first moon after the autumn equinox

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Don’t feed birds in the parking lot

Vernon wildlife control services owner says feeding ducks and geese, or any wildlife, is bad

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Most Read