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Minimum Wage Increase Has a Downside

By Joe Lipovski

The Nest has eliminated two positions and decreased hours of operation to compensate for the provincial increase of minimum wage to $15.

The Nest general manager, Michelle Dirksen, says that by December the restaurant will need to re-evaluate and, if necessary, reduce individual hours rather than cut positions.

“We’re in a position where we really couldn’t reduce [employment positions] anymore, and still pull off the service we expect to pull off,” said Dirksen

The Nest previously remained open until 9 p.m. on weekdays and now closes earlier on certain days.

A decrease in restaurant industry positions will mostly affect students as the Alberta Labour Force reports that one in five people between the ages of 15 and 24 work in a restaurant.

However, not all food establishments on campus are experiencing the same effects of the increase.

According to Clayton Davis, Executive Director of Human Resources at NAIT, the increase has not exceeded NAIT’s minimum hourly wage for food services employees.

Other industries are experiencing the effects of the increase as well. Navi Jauhal is an academic upgrading student who has worked in retail for over 10 years and she has already had her hours cut back since the wage increase.

Shaq Grous is a recent post-secondary graduate who also works in retail. He believes there has been little effect on retail jobs, since stores are preparing for the holiday season.

However, he expects many stores will eliminate more employees than just their seasonal staff once the holiday season is over.

“I probably prefer prices going up, than seeing people losing jobs,” said Grouse.

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