Quebec casino workers strike for wage increases

June 16, 2023
By
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Nearly 1,700 employees have walked off the job site prior to Grand Prix weekend.

Casino workers in the Canadian province of Quebec who are asking for higher wages have launched a strike ahead of Grand Prix weekend in Montreal, according to a CBC news local report. Union workers went on strike at four casinos and on the Crown corporation’s online gambling site.

More than 1,700 employees are currently participating across Montreal, Gatineau, Mont-Tremblant and Charlevoix casinos, as well as on Espacejeux website, according to the local union. 

Workers want wages that coincide with the cost of living, plus an additional dollar per hour.

Loto-Québec told local news that it has already responded twice to employee demands for wages that “reflect the rising cost of living.” The company said it has proposed two “generous” offers earlier in the year.

Montreal Casino President of Security Workers Riccardo Scopelleti told local news that both groups have been in negotiations for the past year. He noted that the recent strike is a concentrated effort to return to productive discussions that will produce results.

He commented, "We're sending the message, we want to return to the table, we want to negotiate.”

He went on to add that employees are still recovering from the recent pandemic’s effect on working conditions.

"We've lived through three closures during Covid. We're working short-staffed, there are departments that are still closed," said Scopelleti. 

Despite the strike, local casinos said they will stay open for the Grand Prix, Loto-Québec said in a statement. The online site’s call center will be offline, but the site will continue to be available throughout the weekend.

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