Monday, January 17, 2011



The service industry has traditionally been both penny pinching and outright dishonest when it comes to their employees. This has been exasperated by a recent trend across the western world of hiring migrant labour, many of whom don't know their rights (and bosses are certainly not going to inform them out of the kindness of their overflowing hearts) or who are intimidated by their status in the country that they have emigrated to. One example in the USA, the workers at Chipotle, was recently mentioned on this blog. Here's another from Canada, out BC way. Seems that Filipino workers at the Denny's restaurants in that province have gotten together to demand their rights. Here's how the story is seen by the BC Federation of Labour.

BC Fed in the News:

Fillipino Denny's workers launch class action
January 13, 2011
Fifty temporary foreign workers from the Phillipines have launched a class action lawsuit against Denny's restaurant. The workers allege Denny's has not paid them in full and say the restaurant has not reimbursed them for recruitment and processing fees they paid in order to come to Canada.

The B.C. Federation of Labour is calling for a moratorium on the recruitment of workers under the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program until all alleged abuses are investigated and the program is cleaned up.

To see the CBC Television story on the class action lawsuit against Denny's click here.
And here is how the story is seen by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).
Migrant Workers File $10 Million Lawsuit against Denny’s in British Columbia
More than 50 Filipino migrant workers recruited to Canada under the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) program have filed a $10 million class action suit against Denny’s restaurants in British Columbia, charging the company did not live up to the employment contract the workers signed before they arrived from the Philippines. The suit was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court on January 7, on behalf of the Filipino migrant workers employed at Denny’s from 2006 until the present.

One of the lawyers representing the workers, Charles Gordon, alleges that “the workers came to Canada, mainly as cooks and servers, to take jobs at Denny’s Restaurants in B.C. but were required to pay approximately $6,000 each to an agency that was recruiting employees for the Defendants, and the workers have not received the hours of work, overtime pay, air travel and other conditions they were promised.”

“These workers were encouraged to come to Canada with a set of promises that have never been met – they have done their part but the Denny’s has not lived up to their end of the deal,” says Christopher Foy, another member of the legal team.

“The federal government’s Temporary Foreign Workers program continues to be a shameful treadmill that lures workers to Canada, and then leaves them defenseless and vulnerable,” says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. “The fact that the Denny’s workers have been forced to go to court is yet another blatant example of how the exploitative TFW program turns a blind eye to what happens to migrant workers once they arrive in Canada.”

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