March 30, 2021


VANCOUVER, B.C. –- With the recent announcement to shut down indoor dining until April 19th, restaurant workers are concerned more than ever about their income security, and not having any paid sick days for a safety net. Details on government financial support remains to be seen, and people are anxious. To pass the microphone to workers, the Worker Solidarity Network (WSN) has created an online survey to gather perspectives across the province about their experiences living with income precarity.

Prior to COVID-related business declines, workers in B.C. were forced to contend with a system that offers little defense against sudden and unjust termination. In the Employment Standards Act, employees can legally be fired without just cause at any time. For new summer hires that are still within their 3-month probationary period, job security is virtually non-existent as ‘circuit-breaker’ shut downs paralyze the restaurant sector.

Most are surprised to learn about how defenseless workers are against on-a-whim firings, others are all too aware of the thin ice that they tread, forcing them to accept mistreatment as the norm, and preventing them from speaking up about issues. In many cases, they simply can’t afford to risk employer retaliation. The WSN frequently hears from workers who have been fired out of the blue by text message, for reasons including not “fitting the vibe” and “appearing tired”. 

The WSN will develop a summary of key findings following the survey, and through collective action, continue to ensure that the rights of workers across the province are safeguarded. 

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