Fired after asking for a raise

Joseph Moniz did not expect this. For eight months he worked as an assistant pharmacist. During this time, he repeatedly asked to meet with his employer to ask for a salary increase. On the advice of his superior, he wrote an email to his regional manager asking for a raise. Two days later, he was fired.

I didn’t think such a thing could happen. There was a small chance. My co-workers told me it didn’t cost anything to ask, in the end I was wrong. »

A quote from Joseph Moniz, former assistant pharmacist
Exterior view of the front of Murphy's Pharmacy in Kensington.

Joseph Moniz worked eight months in this Murphy’s pharmacy located in Kensington.

Photo: Julien Lecacheur

Since September, Joseph Moniz had been working at Murphy’s Pharmacy in Kensington. A full-time job, paid $14 an hour.

With his qualifications, his experience and the rising cost of living, he wanted to obtain a living wage, evaluated in 2020 by the Canadian center for alternative politics at $ 19.30 for the city of Charlottetown.

According to him, his salary did not allow him to support himself. Since I’ve been on the island, I’ve worked for minimum wage. It’s just impossible to live today when I don’t have big expenseshe explains.

The precariousness of island workers on the rise

The rise in the price of fuel, heating oil, rents or even food is pushing many island workers into precariousness.

In April, inflation reached 8.9% compared to last year, according to the latest data published by Statistics Canada.

Working, elderly and child poverty continues to rise! »

A quote from Mary Boyd, Coordinator, MacKillop Center for Social Justice

Mary Boyd knows this subject very well. For years, she has been collecting data on poverty. According to one of the reports she produced, in 2019, the poverty rate in Prince Edward Island was 16.8%.

In 2021, she found that this rate had increased for workers living in the island capital. Charlottetown has been very hard hit: 25% of workers are in a situation of poverty. That’s huge for a cityshe notes.

Mary Boyd is attending her desk.  She reads documents.

Mary Boyd assures that 25% of island workers living in Charlottetown are in a situation of poverty.

Photo: Julien Lecacheur

Raising the minimum wage, enough?

In an attempt to stem this precariousness, the island government has promised 20 million dollars to mitigate the impact of inflation on citizens’ wallets.

A check for $150, for example, will be given to those most in need. Three million dollars will also be reserved for the program of assistance with heating expenses offered to people assisted by the Salvation Army.

Despite this announcement, Karla Bernard, the Green Party MP for Charlottetown–Victoria Park, believes that these measures remain insufficient. She is calling for an increase in the minimum wage, now set at $13.70.

A large majority of islanders can no longer afford accommodation with their salary. They cannot meet their minimum needs. They can’t do it anymore with these salaries. »

A quote from Karla Bernard, Green Party MP, Charlottetown – Victoria Park
Karla Bernard is standing in a park.  She looks at the camera.

Karla Bernard, Green Party MP for Charlottetown – Victoria Park.

Photo: Julien Lecacheur

Pay transparency, a step in the right direction?

There is hope. On June 1, an amendment to the labor law will come into force, with pay transparency. Employers will be required to clearly state the salary offered in job postings. In addition, they will no longer be able to request information about candidates from their former employers.

An important step forward for workers according to Karla Bernard, this will create a more efficient labor market. You will know the salary of your position even before applying so you can decide very quickly whether or not you would like to obtain this position..

Pay transparency should also make it possible to reduce discrimination in hiring, in particular based on race, but also gender. This will automatically and naturally make wages higher. It will also eliminate discriminationbelieves Karla Bernard.

Joseph Moniz sits at his desk.  He reads his letter of resignation given by his employer.

Joseph Moniz does not regret his gesture. He hopes it will help other islanders earn better wages.

Photo: Julien Lecacheur

In the meantime, Joseph Moniz has no regrets and hopes to quickly find work. I’m sure something good will come out of this storyhe assures.

He has no resentment towards his former employer. Still, he hopes his story will inspire Murphy’s Pharmacies to raise salaries for its employees.

The company declined to answer our questions on Wednesday.

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