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London labour activists gather outside Tim Hortons to protest benefit, paid break clawbacks

London labour activists protest outside Tim Hortons on Wednesday, Jan. 10.
London labour activists protest outside Tim Hortons on Wednesday, Jan. 10. 980 CFPL

Protesters gathered outside a downtown London Tim Hortons to show support for employees amid a brewing controversy over some franchises response to Ontario’s recent minimum wage hike.

Franchise owners in Cobourg and Kingston have come under fire after announcing they’re reducing employee benefits and eliminating paid breaks after the minimum wage went up to $14 an hour on Jan. 1.

READ MORE: Tim Hortons protests: Why the controversy has hit such a nerve with Canadians

Members of the London and District Labour Council handed out leaflets to customers outside the Tim Hortons on Dundas Street near Richmond as part of coordinated protests held throughout the day in Ontario.

“I spoke with a server and she’s working three part-time jobs, and she is just so excited that now her wage is going to be higher and that she has a much better standard of living,” said London and District Labour Council president Patti Dalton.

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READ MORE: By the numbers: Tim Hortons vs. minimum wage hike

Kevin Jones attended the protest in a show of solidarity and argued the company is hugely profitable and can afford to pay employees the new rate.

“They’re making millions of dollars and the workers are the ones being penalized,” said Jones.

A statement on Tim Hortons’ corporate website last week placed blame on “reckless few” franchise owners for employee benefit cuts.

Ontario’s minimum wage will rise again in 2019 to $15 per hour.