Halifax rally to be held in solidarity with Ontario workers

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Suzanne MacNeil is the president of the Halifax-Dartmouth and District Labour Council and says Friday's protest in the city is aiming to do the same thing.

Friday's pickets, which were planned for cities across the country, came after similar demonstrations earlier this month at 16 Tim Hortons restaurants in Ontario.

Ontario's minimum wage rose on January 1 to $14 an hour from $11.60.

A Tim Hortons franchise in Kingston was one of 50 locations across Ontario at which a "day of action" rally was held on Friday afternoon to bring attention to labour practices by some Tim Hortons franchisees in the wake of Ontario's minimum wage hike.

"That an employer would try to penalize them for getting a slight increase in their wages is ridiculous", she said, explaining labour, under the banner Fight for $15 and Fairness, worked hard to pressure the province to boost the minimum wage.

Coates said an unofficial group of franchisees has been circulating ways to mitigate the minimum-wage increase through cuts to workers.

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Tim Hortons clawbacks raise the question: who's the boss? Staff who work an eight-hour shift get one paid 30-minute meal period break and a paid 10-minute break to be taken during the latter part of their shift.

LouAnn Binning, of the Niagara Regional Labour Council, said the information pickets - she is not calling them protests - were put together quickly, with the call only going out on Tuesday.

A receptionist at J.E. Agnew Food Services Ltd., which owns the Princess and MacDonnell location as well as 15 other franchises in the Kingston area, referred all media enquiries to Tim Hortons corporate media relations. It will jump to $15 in January 1, 2019.

Fight for 15 is a global organization created to help increase minimum wage to $15.

The decision made in Ontario wasn't necessarily easy to make - but sometimes it needs to happen in order to keep a business afloat, according to Marilyn Braun-Pollon, vice president of agri-business with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Coates noted how Tim Hortons heirs Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce cut benefits and eliminated paid breaks at a Cobourg location.