Hotline opens for minimum wage workers who have had benefits cut

If you've had your benefits cut or other changes you feel are unfair since minimum wage increased, the Waterloo Regional Labour Council is asking you to share your experience with them.

The Waterloo Regional Labour Council is asking people to speak up

The children of the Tim Hortons coffee chain founders cut paid breaks and staff benefits for employees after a minimum wage hike to $14 per hour in Ontario starting Jan. 1, 2018. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The Waterloo Regional Labour Council is hosting a new local hotline for minimum wage workers who feel like their employers have made unfair changes after their wages went up to $14 per hour.

From reducing the number of paid breaks, experiencing cut hours or even having to give your employer your tips, the council is asking people to step forward with their experiences. People can send WRLC an email to: info@wrlc.ca.

"It's unethical," said Dave Eales, president of the labour council. "We're hoping that employers across the region will act in accordance with the law, in what the spirit of the law was."

Since the wage increased, there have been stories from across the province about employers cutting back on worker benefits.

On Monday at Queens Park, Ontario's Labour Minister Kevin Flynn addressed employers in a media conference, saying that it's "completely unacceptable" for employers to "take it out on their workers."

Waterloo Regional Labour Council posted this graphic to their Facebook page, asking for people to come forward with their stories. (Waterloo Regional Labour Council Facebook page)

Taking action

Eales said about 12 people have approached the WRLC with stories and the council is now starting to help people file complaints with the Ministry of Labour, educating them on unionizing their workplace or speaking to their employers.

If the problem continues, they may have to organize demonstrations, he said, like the one that the Hamilton District Labour Council will be holding on Wednesday in front of a Tim Hortons that has allegedly cut paid breaks and benefits for their employees.

Employers who are cutting back employee benefits to deal with the increase should learn from employers in the region who are actually "embracing" the changes, Eales said.

"I would say if your only way to deal with a change to the minimum wage as an employer, is to take it out on the lowest paid workers in our society, then you're a bad business person."

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