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

Police briefs: stolen bikes, unlocked cars and falling trees

Oak Bay police files from Sept. 17 to 23

Bookstores fundraising for four Victoria elementary school libraries

10th annual Adopt a School program runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 7, with four locations in Victoria

Municipalities can help tent cities with provincial aid, says UBCM president

Provincial housing efforts can be facilitated on local level

Cool Aid Society cleans up Woodwynn Farms

Casual labour pool helps to clear debris

Recent rash of thefts in Sidney similar to past sprees

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP warn residents to lock their vehicles

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

B.C. electric vehicle subsidy fund drains faster than expected

Province adds another $10 million to incentive fund

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

It’s shaping up to be quite a finish in CFL’s West Division standings

The Calgary Stampeders (10-2) are first, four points ahead of the Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-5).

Twice-convicted killer set to inherit multimillion-dollar company found guilty of father’s murder

A Toronto judge ruled that Dellen Millard is guilty of first-degree murder in death of his father,

Campaign seeks to add Farsi to B.C. school curriculum options

Group wants Farsi added to list of nine languages in policy covering second language requirements

Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

Peace summit in New York marks 100th birthday of former South African president

Most Read