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BC’s labour minister says Freshii’s remote internationally located cashier is not welcome here, but it’s totally cool for call centres

On Wednesday, April 27, BC Minister of Labour Harry Bains tweeted out a response to a Toronto Star article about Freshii using a virtual cashier.

“It’s been 40 years since BC’s minimum was this low,” wrote Bains. “My message to
(Freshii) is, we will not be turning back the clock on workers wages in BC and they can keep their outsourcing jobs pilot project away from our province.”

Freshii’s virtual cashier, named “Percy”, is a human working remotely. Freshii’s workers are based out of Nicaragua and earn $3.75 per hour, much cheaper than British Columbia’s minimum wage, $15.20 per hour which will increase to $15.65 per hour on June 1, 2022.

A user on social media criticized Minister Harry Bains and was quick to point out a hypocritic view saying telecomms and other businesses in B.C. that rely on call centres outsource jobs internationally with cheaper wages.

The third party company that manages the cashier system created an account on Twitter after they got hit with backlash in an attempt to mitigate the blow.

After getting shredded, the third party company that manages the cashier system set up a Twitter account in an attempt to curb the outrage.

“Hi, I’m Percy! How Can I Help You…(understand me better)?” the company tweeted on Wednesday.

In one of the post in the thread the company claims the service is not to replace Canadian jobs or about the money.

There was mixed responses posted online some in favor and some not.

In reply to a Globe and Mail article shared online a user believes it is a more efficient way of doing business but didn’t explain in their opinion how it would be more efficient. However it would be more cost affective because the wages they pay less than half of the cost hiring people in British Columbia.

Percy claims it’s about labor shortages and made to help with the service gaps.

A Twitter user replied saying if it’s not about money or outsourcing Canadian jobs then why are they only paying $3.75 per hour instead of the British Columbia’s minimum wage.

“Then why are you paying them so poorly? Why not pay the minimum wage for the province?”.

Interesting enough this question directly challenges the claim about it not being about the money.

If Percy did end up offering the provinces minimum wage for the remote workers hired and working from out of country there is no other valid reason for not hiring British Columbians to work from home.

During another post in the thread Percy explains selected the name “Percy” for the system in likened it to Thomas and Friends Percy “eager-to-please tank engine.”

Another Twitter user replied then asked if it was because Percy was the “strike breaker” engine”

Freshii, a Canadian healthy eating fast-casual franchise with dozens of locations in Ontario and B.C. while using Percy in Ontario at multiple locations.

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