The negotiations between the striking Gateway Casinos employees and their employer could be restarted next Tuesday. The workers’ union which represents the staff of Playtime Casino has asked for contract talks to be held from July 9th to 11th, with the spokeswoman of the union – Gayle Furgala – explaining that the workers’ representatives were ready for the next stage of the negotiations and were just waiting for the mediator to confirm that he would be available for the dates mentioned above.
The employers from Gateway Casinos were ready to proceed with the talks as previously planned, in the period from July 4th to 6th, but the planned restart of the talks was prevented from happening by a scheduling problem.
More than 700 casino workers in gambling venues in Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton walked off their jobs last Friday. Ms. Furgala revealed that the casino employees have received support from a few other unions which joined them on the picket line.
Still, the union representing the workers’ interests revealed that the two parties are still far from reaching an agreement on the employees’ wages. The starting salary of a casino worker at Gateway Casinos’ venues equals to the minimum wage in British Columbia which is currently worth CA$12.65 an hour, with the union having insisted that it should be boosted to CA$18.63 an hour. On the other hand, the employers from Gateway Casinos said that no salary talks had been held before the beginning of the strike. The gambling operator also stated that the hourly wages of its employees have always been supplemented by tips given to workers by customers.
Casino Owners Claim Wages Were not Addressed Yet
The gambling operator said the workers’ union had decided to end mediation talks before any discussions on wages were held. According to the company, which currently operates the Playtime Casino, the union’s decision to go on strike before the wages were even addressed was an unfortunate one for both the business and the workers.
Furthermore, Gateway Casinos called for the employees who do not agree with the strike to make it clear to the workers’ union that they would like to be able to continue working. The casino operator described the wage demands made by the union as “shocking”, saying that a wage increase of 60% to 80% would simply be unreasonable for any business.
The casino remains open at the time of the strike, but it works on reduced hours. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday, and works from Wednesday to Sunday from noon to 2 AM, with its services and games also being limited.
A few weeks ago, in June, Casino Reports revealed that the workers’ strike action might result in the closure of four Gateway Casinos in Okanagan. The strike action was greenlighted by employees at the Playtime Casino in Kelowna, the Cascades Casinos in Penticton and Kamloops and at the Lake City Casino in Vernon.