Lockout lifted at Winnipeg Tim Hortons location

The unionized workers at the Lombard Avenue Tim Hortons location are seeking a wage increase of 30 cents an hour, while the franchise owner offered a raise of 20 cents an hour.

15 workers at Lombard Avenue store, employer returning to bargaining table to negotiate wage increase

Eight employees of the Tim Hortons in the underground mall at Portage Avenue and Main Street hold signs indicating they were locked out by their employer for asking for a wage increase. (Workers United Canada/Twitter)

Employees at a unionized Tim Hortons location in Winnipeg will be going back to work, after a lockout by their employer was lifted Friday morning.

The workers were locked out last week following failed negotiations for a wage increase.

Andy Spence, western representative for Workers United Canada, said the union got word from the employer around 10 a.m. that the 15 unionized employees — several of whom began a picket at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street last week — would be allowed to return to their jobs on Monday.

Spence said the workers were relieved to hear the news.

"They've really held it together. I'm so proud of them," said Spence. "We had one worker crying because they were just, it's emotional for them. They just want to go back to work, they want to get fair wage increases and do their job."

Spence said the union is hoping to return to the bargaining table with the employer to come to an agreement that includes a 30-cent hourly wage increase.

The franchise owner had previously offered a raise of 20 cents per hour.

'Hopefully we get there'

The lawyer representing franchise owner JP Shearer said the employer only locked out staff after the unionized workers voted 95 per cent in favour of striking.

Ken Dolinsky said his client was told the union intended to take strike action beginning Jan. 2. The lockout began Jan. 3.

"So that was the reason for the lockout notice. [It was] only driven by the strike notice," said Dolinsky.

Now, both sides say they're ready to return to negotiations.

"The employer intends to bargain in good faith and make every reasonable effort to reach a deal, as it believes the union will as well," said Dolinsky. "And hopefully we get there."

Staff at the unionized Tim Hortons location make $11.75 per hour, which is now 10 cents above minimum wage in Manitoba, following an increase last fall to bring the minimum to $11.65.

The store's collective bargaining agreement expired Oct. 1.

With files from Bryce Hoye


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