Tim Hortons Responds After Some Stores Cut Benefits in Wake of Minimum Wage Hike

The controversial minimum wage hike, which as brought some workers wages up from $11.60 to $14 an hour, has prompted some degree of panic in the business community. After the hike came into effect on Jan. 1., news broke that a number of stores (some associated with major companies) were cutting benefits as a result of the policy change.

Tim Hortons was one company that made headlines after some franchisees notified employees that they would no longer be paid for breaks.

Now the popular Canadian-born company is speaking out against the actions of a "reckless few" and insisting it stands by its employees during what it calls a "sudden transition."

"There are several things that make the Tim Hortons brand truly unique - like our connection to our communities and the great relationship our restaurant owners and their team members have with our guests. It saddens all of us to see that jeopardized by the recent news stories and comments on social media, caused by the actions of a reckless few," Tim Hortons wrote in a statement.

The brand says that the benefit cuts were not ordered or endorsed by the corporation and that the statements of a "rogue group" do not reflect the brand's values.

"Let us be perfectly clear. These recent actions by a few restaurant owners, and the unauthorized statements made to the media by a 'rogue group' claiming to speak on behalf of Tim Hortons, do not reflect the values of our brand, the views of our company or the views of the overwhelming majority of our dedicated and hardworking restaurant owners."

The statement came after Premier Kathleen Wynne called the Cobourg franchisees, who are the children of the company's founders, "bullies."

The brand says that while it will be difficult for the franchisees and company to adjust to the hike, it does not support using employees to "further an agenda or be treated as just an expense."

While the move to cut benefits was met with shock, businesses—including major grocers—have talked about making cuts to compensate for the uptick in labour expenses.

"Our restaurant owners across the country know that their team members are the heart of their restaurants. They have great relationships with our guests and provide them with the incredible service our brand is known for. It's important that we recognize that by providing them with a fair and rewarding work experience - and because it's the right thing to do," the company said.

How franchisees and other business owners will adjust to the hike going forward remains to be seen.

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