‘Restaurant Realities’ campaign is predictable given that the reality is that Restaurants Canada NEVER believes it is time to support changes that benefit workers in the industry
Edmonton - Predictably, Restaurants Canada is launching a third-party election campaign this morning which includes proposing rollbacks to minimum wage increases and various other workplace reforms which support working Albertans. Their campaign is an attempt to influence voters in this spring’s election by claiming that Alberta’s workplace changes implemented by the Notley Government have been ‘too much too soon’, but history shows us that for Restaurants Canada it is never the time for things such as a meaningful increase to the minimum wage or improved workers’ rights.
For instance, last year Restaurants Canada praised Premier Doug Ford for rolling back Ontario’s planned minimum wage increase and employment standards changes, in 2016 they launched the ‘NotTheTime.ca’ public campaign opposing Alberta’s minimum wage increases, in 2013 when PEI announced they would be freezing the minimum wage, Restaurants Canada put out a release calling it “A Win For Members”, while in 2014 when Manitoba increased their minimum wage by a mere 25 cents it was “Minimum Wage Increase Bad for Restaurants, Bad for Jobs”.
“Regardless of the province, and regardless of the economic situation, industry groups like Restaurants Canada never believe minimum wage earners deserve a raise or that restaurant industry workers should have more rights”, said Gil McGowan, President of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “Restaurants Canada remains more concerned about keeping wages low for their members, than about the thousands of minimum wage earners living below the poverty line.”
Their current campaign continues to perpetuate myths while using misleading statements about restaurants sales in Alberta, about who minimum wage workers are, and about the cost of provincial taxes. According to ATB Financial, restaurant sales in Alberta are up and have seen record numbers for the last two years. In Alberta over half of all minimum wage earners are over the age of 25, almost two thirds of them are women and nearly three quarters of minimum wage earners are in permanent jobs – not temporary, summer or internship placements. On January 1st of 2017, all small businesses in Alberta received a 33% provincial income tax cut to offset increased costs from the carbon tax.
“We know that restaurant sales are up in Alberta, we know that small businesses received a significant tax cut from this government in 2017, and we know that the discussion about the minimum wage isn’t about a few young people getting some job experience,” said McGowan. “Restaurants Canada continues to rely on myths and misleading statistics to support their real goal, which is a rollback in workers’ rights and lower wages for workers in the industry – meaning more profits for their members.”
Chris Gallaway, Alberta Federation of Labour
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