By David Shum
Tim Hortons employees at over 200 locations across Ontario received special Valentine’s Day cards and chocolates from workers’ rights advocates on Tuesday in a show of support for improved working conditions.
The action comes after several franchises slashed workers’ benefits and breaks after the province raised its minimum wage on Jan. 1.
“I think it’s shameful that the corporation has responded to the minimum wage increase by cutting meal breaks, by making workers start to pay for uniforms, by cutting hours and by taking away tips,” Deena Ladd of the Workers’ Action Centre told Global News at a Tim Hortons location in downtown Toronto Tuesday morning.
Over the past month and a half, protests have been held across the province in response to some Tim Hortons locations that have clawed back workers benefits, paid breaks and other perks as a result of the minimum wage increase in Ontario to $14 an hour from $11.60.
“Whether the workers belong to a union or not, they deserve to have respect and dignity in their workplace,” said Chris Buckley, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
“We’re going to caution these bad bosses to get their hands out of the workers’ pockets, pay them accordingly, treat them with respect and dignity or we’re coming after them as well.”
The protests began after Jeri Horton-Joyce and Ron Joyce Jr., the children of the brand’s billionaire co-founder Ron Joyce, rolled out the controversial measures at two Cobourg, Ont., locations they own.