Activists are organizing protests outside a range of Tim Hortons franchises in Ontario today, after certain stores announced their staff would not be paid for breaks and wouldn’t be allowed to keep tips.
The Canadian Press reports that organizers hope the rallies will send a message to the coffee chain’s parent company, Restaurant Brands International (RBI).
Pam Frache, Ontario co-ordinator of a campaign Fight for $15 and Fairness, commented: “Head office has the means to ensure that these reprisals against workers are reversed, and we are calling on them to do so immediately. And we are not going to stop, actually, until they make this happen. We need to make it right for these employees.''
The controversy arose after certain franchisees, including ones owned by Tim Hortons founders’ heirs, announced they were cutting back employee benefits after the minimum wage hike.
Speaking to The Star, John Cartwright, president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, asked: “Where’s the justice? Where’s the Canadian values? RBI is the ultimate decision-maker.”
The Great White North Franchisee Association, representing a portion of Tim Hortons franchisees, claim that hike, amongst other changes to labour laws, will cost the average franchisee $243,889 a year.
Yesterday, a social media campaign entitled ‘No Timmies Tuesday’ encouraged customers to forgo the coffee chain and opt for an independent brand instead.
Earlier this week, Tim Horton’s HQ released a statement that seemingly condemned the actions of a ‘rogue few’.
It read: “Let us be perfectly clear. These recent actions by a few Restaurant Owners, and the unauthorized statements made to the media by a ‘rogue group’ claiming to speak on behalf of Tim Hortons, do not reflect the values of our brand, the views of our company or the views of the overwhelming majority of our dedicated and hardworking restaurant owners.”