KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The Fight for 15 has been a hot topic lately, and not just in Ontario, where the minimum wage was raised to $14 per hour, with a commitment to make that $15 on January 1, 2019. In Nova Scotia as well the buzz on phone in shows, Facebook posts and letters to the editor all show that there is a real support out there to make something similar happen here.
But unlike Ontario there has been relatively little activism in support of a higher Nova Scotia minimum wage for at least the last year or so. Until this morning that is, when announcements for two Halifax rallies reached our inbox within just a couple of hours.
Independent labour activists, calling themselves Rights at Work Nova Scotia, are organizing a rally at the Tim Hortons on Spring Garden Road this Wednesday in an effort to further amplify this growing support for the Fight for 15 and Fairness in our province.
And another rally will take place in front of the Central Library, also on Spring Garden Road, this Friday at noon. That rally is organized by the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council and the newly-formed Halifax Workers’ Action Centre.
“It’s outrageous how in Ontario some of the Tim Hortons franchises punish their employees for the minimum wage raise. As a result there were seventeen demonstrations across Ontario over the weekend, and I was surprised there was nothing here,” says Larry Haiven, professor emeritus at Saint Mary’s University and one of the organizers of the Wednesday event.
“First of all, we want to show our outrage at how in Ontario Tim Hortons franchisees are taking it out on their employees, but also to remind people that Nova Scotia has the lowest minimum wage in the country, and to call for a $15 minimum wage here. And finally, we want to say how important it is for workers to organize in a union,” Haiven says.
Sometimes forgotten, the Fight for 15 and Fairness has always been about more than the minimum wage and has included demands for improved working conditions, things like sick days, shift scheduling, and so forth.
“There are three hurdles here in Nova Scotia when it comes to these basic rights,” says Haiven. “First of all, these rights are very minimal compared to other jurisdictions, and probably among the worst in the country in terms of labour standards.”
“But even for those few rights that they have, most workers don’t know what they are, which means they need to be promoted much more strongly by the government,” Haiven says. “And thirdly, even if they do know what their rights are, workers often are afraid.”
Rally to chastise Tim Horton’s and call for $15 Nova Scotia minimum wage
WHEN: Noon, Wednesday, January 17
WHERE: Tim Horton’s Café, 5511 Spring Garden Rd, Halifax
TIME: 12 noon to 1 pm
Email Rights at Work Nova Scotia at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHEN: Noon, Friday, January 19
WHERE: Halifax Central Library, Spring Garden Rd, Halifax
TIME: 12 noon to 1 pm
See also Know your labour rights, our series on labour standards in Nova Scotia, written by Judy Haiven
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