This is not time to raise minimum wage, say Alberta restaurant industry

alberta wageOn behalf of Alberta’s restaurant industry and its 150,000 employees, Restaurants Canada launched a new website today to reach out to industry operators, workers and supporters with the message that “Now is Not the Time” for another significant increase in the minimum wage.

Restaurants Canada is recommending that the government:

  • Postpone minimum wage increases until the economy improves,
  • Retain the liquor server wage (scheduled to be eliminated Oct. 2016), and
  • Introduce a youth wage.

Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s Vice President Western Canada, says, “Our Alberta members are already struggling to survive and maintain employment during these challenging economic times. A 50% increase in wages over just three years would be difficult to absorb at any time. But during a recession, our members have said such an increase would lead to a reduction in jobs, hours and wages for the very people the wage hike is intended to help.”

The Alberta government begins formal consultations June 6. To assist with an open and respectful dialogue, Restaurants Canada has provided some facts about the impact such a dramatic increase would have. Check out the website and view the caption: Now is Not the Time.

“Our industry is concerned about the unintended consequences of increasing the rate too quickly,” adds von Schellwitz. “We will get to a $15 minimum wage in time, but imposing a 50% increase in just three years (a whopping 63% increase for liquor servers) is simply too much, too fast.”

The website will help people send a message to their MLA asking that the government consider our recommendations.

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Alberta’s restaurant industry directly employs more than 150,000 Albertans, representing nearly 7% of the province’s work force. – CNW

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