In the face of a jobs crisis, the federal government has approved the sale of an iconic Canadian business to a group of foreign billionaires with a track record of slashing jobs and minimizing taxes. The government’s decision to approve the Tim Hortons deal is a stunning abandonment of its responsibility to ensure that Canadians benefit from foreign takeovers.
Billions of dollars in new debt from the sale will put increased pressure on Tim Hortons, but Burger King and its private equity owner, 3G Capital, haven’t offered adequate protections for Canadian workers. The approval outlined by Industry Minister James Moore yesterday will not stop 3G Capital from following its usual pattern of mass layoffs.
For example, the approval provides no protection for the more than 900 workers in Tim Hortons’ distribution centres, regional offices, and manufacturing facilities. When 3G Capital bought Heinz in 2013, it closed a manufacturing plant in Leamington, Ontario, costing 740 jobs.
It also only provides that “significant” employment levels will be maintained at Tim Hortons headquarters in Oakville. When 3G Capital bought Burger King in 2010, half the headquarters staff were laid off. If the same percentage were cut at Tim Hortons headquarters in Oakville, 350 employees would remain but another 350 would receive pink slips.
At a time when many workers in Canada are struggling to find work, it is unconscionable that the government would allow this deal to go through without clear, unambiguous protections for all Tim Hortons workers whose jobs are on the line.
Burger King and 3G Capital still need to demonstrate that this takeover won’t mean mass layoffs. If the merger is really going to help expand Tim Hortons, they should be able to pledge that there will be no job loss for workers in Canada.
Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare
Jerry Dias, President of Unifor
Gerry Cadeau, President of Teamsters Local 647
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