Protests from casino workers across Quebec are set to continue into this week, as staff of several properties plans to go on a one-day strike this Thursday. The strike is set to feature mainly support staff, such as catering, security and maintenance services. Dealers will not be part of it. But in Casino Mont-Tremblant, croupiers will be involved.
At the start of June 2023, staff members of casinos at Montreal, Charlevoix, Gatineau and Mont-Tremblant voted 91% in favour of a five-day strike. The unionized workers are unhappy with the employer, Loto-Québec, and demand an increase in wages to match the equivalent of the rise in the cost of living in the province and in the country.
After the announcement of the strike, Loto-Québec informed that four of its casinos and online gaming will be affected by the protest but in a limited way. Due to the scheduled strike, the gambling faculties will be operational from 2 p.m. to midnight. Meanwhile, Casino Lac-Leamy in Gatineau will remain within its usual business hours.
The unhappy 1,700 staff members are under the wing of the CSN-affiliated Fédération des employés des services publics. In its negotiations with the employer, the union wants an increase of wages equivalent to the rise in the cost of living plus CA$1 per hour. It argued that the Crown corporation makes good profits and that staff should also benefit from it.
Over the weekend, the 1,700 members walked off the job in the four casinos. This came during the highly-anticipated Formula 1 Grand Prix in Montreal, which is a busy weekend for the casinos in the area. All four of the properties remained operational during the protest as well as the Crown’s online gaming platform. But the website’s call centre was off limits as it was down.
Previously, the President of security workers at Casino Montreal, Riccardo Scopelleti shared that the negotiations have been in progress for over a year. He said workers want to resume negotiations while also noting that the employer has had record profits for 17 years now. Mr. Scopelleti labelled the current situation of unwillingness to increase wages as deplorable.
In response, the employer claimed that it has presented offers with good working conditions to all of its employees. It noted that casino salaries are well above the reference market, with over 20% for the majority of job categories. Additionally, the Crown remarked the union’s current demands were more than twice what the corporation has given to its other employees.
Professional Staff Ink Agreement
Last year, Loto-Québec also awarded a brand-new collective agreement to its professional staff which protested in September. The professionals agreed to a new collective contract as 96% of the unionized employees voted in favour of it. After that, the 455 workers returned to their positions allowing the Crown to resume normal operations and launch the new Lotto 6/49.
Source: “Casino workers in Quebec to hold another one-day strike” CTV News, June 21, 2023