MONTREAL — The Canadian Restaurant Workers Coalition (CRWC) recently published a petition seeking government action to ensure “more dignified, equitable and just employment for restaurant workers.”
The coalition, which launched in October, was founded by the organizers of the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund and The Full Plate — a hospitality-focused non-profit. It has since been joined by partner organizations from across Canada, including the Toronto Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, the Bartenders Benevolent Fund, Not 9 to 5 and Vinequity.
CRWC’s goal is to lobby the federal government for greater support for restaurant-industry workers through the COVID-19 crisis, which it says has revealed and exacerbated “longstanding failings and the frailties of the restaurant industry.”
The petition, which has gained more than 3,500 signatures, highlights CRWC’s proposed actions “to save restaurant workers from certain poverty.” This includes: permanently adapt the rules of EI to include precarious workers; define and enforce fair work hours and wages; and adequate health protections for restaurant workers.
“The average hospitality worker is under-paid, under-employed, overworked and left struggling to afford housing, transit, utilities and other basic expenses. Across the country, restaurant workers face unjust and inequitable conditions; unpaid overtime; toothless and tedious worker-rights protections; dangerous and unhealthy workplaces; discrimination, both within the workplace and from clients; and wage theft,” says a statement on the CRWC website. “These are just some of the condition’s workers face on an everyday basis. These employees are at risk of falling deeper into poverty and oppressive circumstances without government support.”