Saskatchewan’s gaming field is going through an eventful period, as the end of the month was an anticipated time for many casino staff members. Casino Moose Jaw issued temporary layoffs for 80 of its employees taking care of the casino offerings available on site. For the time being, the period of these layoffs has not been specified, but it is known that the workers would return to their working place once the COVID-19 health emergency is over.
The latest news surrounding the novel coronavirus in Saskatchewan show a surge of reported cases. As of March 30, there have been 20 new cases of the highly contagious virus. This swells the overall number of individuals contracting the virus to 176 within the borders of the province.
Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw are the two gambling venues that made it clear that layoffs would be mandatory in these trying times. The two gambling hotspots are currently closed indefinitely ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. Attracting larger groups of individuals to an enclosed space is not the right thing to do at the moment, as the province decided.
Following the example first set by the province of Quebec, Saskatchewan made it clear that players would have to halt their gambling activities for the time being and instead practice social distancing as best as they could. This approach is about to flatten the curve of outspread and slow it down not only in the province but also in the country in general. Layoffs would have to take place.
Some 497 unionized casino employees along with 52 managers working at both gambling venues would have to go through a temporary layoff while the casino venues are closed for business. The first batch of individuals has already been served their layoff notices informing them they should stay at home come April 3. The decision stirred the pot amid the casino workers.
Casino Staff Directly Affected
Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union, representing individuals of both venues, expressed an opinion that the layoffs are harmful to the people affected. They would no longer be eligible for a wage, which would affect their quality of life. However, the people are going to be eligible for health benefits and they also have the right to use their vacation time and accumulated overtime hours accrued, as this would make it easier for them.
Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation recently made it clear they were following the orders of the Chief Medical Officer of Saskatchewan and layoffs are mandatory. Paul Guillet, speaking on behalf of the labor union, stated that the Collective Bargaining Agreement has been disregarded with this move. It could be recalled that last week brought the news announced by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the labor union protecting their rights before their employer.
Back then, the labor union pointed out that the layoff decision has been made by the casino management, instead of the Crown corporation overseeing the field. Public Service Alliance of Canada is about to file a policy grievance in relation to the layoffs planned. PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President Marianne Hladun made it clear that she has already contacted SLGA minister’s office, as well as other officials that could prevent the layoffs from happening.