Chris Stephens MP writes open letter raising living wage with coffee chain following CommonSpace investigation
THE GLOBAL cafe chain Tim Hortons has distanced itself from job adverts offering £5 per hour to staff at its Glasgow operation following an investigation by CommonSpace.
Team member posts, advertised for £5 per hour when CommonSpace broke the story on Wednesday (12 July) are now being advertised at £7.50 per hour by a job site profile claiming to represent the corporation. One of the £5 jobs had earlier linked directly to the same advertiser, despite claims from Tim Hortons that the corporation knows nothing about it.
Some jobs appear to have been removed from the jobsite, Indeed.co.uk. However, CommonSpace still found one Glasgow Tim Hortons job advertised by the Monster recruitment agency at £5.60-7.50.
The change also comes after Chris Stephens, SNP MP for Glasgow South West, which covers the Silverburn shopping centre where some jobs were advertised, called for a meeting with the Canadian chain to discuss wages.
Now removed £5 per hour jobs which Tim Horton says it is not connected to. The bottom link redirects to a profile purpoting to represent Tim Hortons.
Speaking to CommonSpace, a Tim Hortons spokesperson said: “We have no connection with the job adverts in question, which were posted without our knowledge or permission.
“Tim Hortons is a highly responsible employer, committed to paying National Minimum Wage and above. We have taken immediate action to have the adverts removed and are investigating their origin.”
Some of the jobs were connected to an Indeed.co.uk profile bearing Tim Hortons branding and advertising 50 jobs, with adverts for all levels of employment at Tim Hortons establishments including team members, bakers and managers.
Since CommonSpace began it’s enquiries, some jobs have been removed from the profile, which now hosts 44 jobs.
Some £5 per hour job adverts had been posted by the Networx employment agency. Rather than operate recruitment processes directly, big companies like Hortons often contract these services out to specialist companies with a brief of staff positions they wish to fill, and employment details such as pay.
When CommonSpace contacted the English firm, an employee refused to give his name, or confirm or disconfirm that Tim Hortons employed the group to post the advert.
He did, however, challenge that the jobs were not advertised at £5 per hour, but at £5.60 per hour.
However, our investigation casts doubt on those claims. Jobs were advertised at £5 per hour, and the detail of some of the applications offered “up to £7.50” per hour, the adult minimum wage.
A £5 job advert redirects to this page, purporting to represent Tim Hortons
When CommonSpace asked what the moral difference was between £5 per hour and £5.60 per hour, the Networx employee laughed and said “about 60 pence”.
Refusing to confirm any involvement with Tim Hortons, the Networx employee said: “I don’t want to get involved in this.”
Speaking to CommonSpace upon the news that Tim Hortons had distanced itself from the wage rates, Chris Stephens MP said: “I was disturbed by the reports of Tim Hortons offering disgustingly low wage rates – and my thanks to the CommonSpace for uncovering and pushing this issue.
“Following my letter to them they have claimed that these adverts were posted without their knowledge or consent; I’m glad to hear it but equally concerned that jobseekers may be being conned by sharp practices on job sites. I’ll be following this up with the relevant authorities. If any of my constituents have applied for these advertised positions I would ask them to get in touch with myself so I can investigate these sharp practices further.
“I’ve contacted both Tim Hortons here in the UK and their Canadian HQ about their signing up to the real Living Wage, but have yet to receive a reply. With over 800 accredited Living Wage employers in Scotland, including blue-chip FTSE 100 companies such as SSE, ScotRail, and A. G. Barr – the home of Irn Bru – Tim Hortons would be the latest to understand that paying real, sustainable wages benefits employees, employers, the economy and society.
Chris Stephens MP’s letter to Tim Hortons requesting a meeting to discuss wages at the firm
“I’ll continue to push for Tim Hortons to meet with me and living wage campaigners to begin work on implementing action on wages across the company – setting an example for others to follow and spotlighting Canada’s progressive social values in an international context.”
Tim Hortons opened its first UK chain on Glasgow’s Argyle street in June, as part of ambitious plans to break into the UK market. The chain is opening a second Glasgow site at the Silverburn shopping centre to add to its claimed portfolio of 4,590 cafes worldwide.
The clash over the low paid jobs is only one of several in Scotland in recent weeks.
On 4 July, dozens of young workers were dismissed without pay after a Glasgow Green Day gig was cancelled. Stephens also intervened in this instance to demand pay for the dismissed workers.
The Better than Zero campaign, which has fought and won several high profile campaigns against low pay and poor working conditions in Scotland’s booming service sector in recent years, told CommonSpace it would continue to watch the company.
“We welcome the apparent climb down from the £5 per hour jobs, and what Tim Hortons is calling it’s ‘investigation’ into how they were posted and by whom,” the group said.
“We continue to be sceptical about Tim Hortons’ claims that they had no knowledge about the job adverts, seeing as they were advertised by several seperate agencies.
“Nevertheless, we eagerly anticipate the outcome of the Tim Hortons investigation and will continue to make our own enquiries.
“We also welcome the speedy intervention by Chris Stephens MP, who has worked hard in recent weeks to help workers in his constituency facing exploitative conditions.
“We join calls for a meeting between Tim Hortons, Stephens, ourselves and representatives of Scotland’s trade union movement to discuss the possibility of Tim Hortons raising their wages to meet the living wage.”
CommonSpace contacted Indeed to enquire about the origins of job advertising profiles like Tim Hortons and Networx, but it did not respond.
Picture courtesy of Calgary Reviews
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