Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons is slashing worker benefits in response to minimum wage increases in some Canadian provinces.
Employees at the Cobourg, Ontario, Tim Hortons franchise received a letter detailing their reduction in benefits starting Jan. 1, CBC News reports. The letter is dated December 2017 and signed by chain owners Jeri-Lynn Horton-Joyce and Ron Joyce Jr., the married daughter and son of the chain's co-founders Tim Horton and Ron Joyce.
"Dear Team Members," the letter reads. "It is with great regret that Ron Joyce Jr. Enterprises Ltd. (Tim Hortons) finds it necessary to make the following changes to our incentive programs, paid breaks and policies. These changes are due to the increase of wages to $14.00 minimum wage on January 1, 2018, then $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019, as well as the lack of assistance and financial help from our Head Office and from the Government."
The letter says the company's decision to eradicate paid breaks, including meal breaks and short breaks, as well as incentives and health coverage were the result of "intense discussions" with management, local small business owners and other franchise owners.
Employees will no longer receive a full paid day off of work after working six months with no call offs, and will no longer receive an incentive for working on their birthday.
Those who have worked between six months and five years will see their medical and dental coverage cut by 75 percent, while workers of more than five years will see a 50 percent cut.
CBC News spoke to several anonymous employees who were not happy about the cuts, despite the wage hike.
"I feel that we are getting the raw end of the stick," said one front line worker.
Another worker said their biweekly check would be $51 less than before the wage hike due to losing breaks and having to pay 50 percent of benefit costs.
"I've worked for the company for a very long time, and I was very upset," the employee said. "I wasn't marching down the street asking for this pay raise. Now I'm worse off."
People on social media have reacted in outrage against the company, with some saying they'll take their business somewhere else.
"Cobourg Ontario [Tim Hortons] believes the consumer has no choice," wrote one Twitter user, "double-double down & #BOYCOTT Tim’s Cobourg!"
Political writer Luke Savage also had things to say against the company on Twitter.
"Tim Hortons made more than $100 million in profit last year, but I guess it's just too darned strapped for cash to give its minimum wage employees paid breaks and basic benefits," he wrote on Jan. 3 in response to the CBC News article.
Highlighting a quote in the report, "employees say the owners of the franchises are at their winter home in Florida," Savage said: "The perfect conclusion to an article about billionaire business owners cutting the wages of the low paid."