Nearly three weeks after the start of an indefinite general strike across Quebec casinos, employees from Charlevoix have moved their protests in front of the Quebec City Gaming Fair. On Thursday morning, the 95 workers from the casino expressed their dissatisfaction with their employer, Loto-Québec, over the lack of progress in the negotiations for a new deal.
In total approximately 1,700 employees of the Crown corporation walked off the job on June 23, 2023, after previously voting in favour of an unlimited general strike. The employer’s affected casinos are the ones in Charlevoix, Montreal, Mont-Tremblant and Lac-Leamy, as well as employees from its online casino platform and they demand better pay.
-Talks are at a Standstill
Éric Dufour, president of the General and Security Unit of the Charlevoix casino, a union affiliated with the CSN, said there has been no progress in negotiations for almost two months. The president explained the union wants things to progress forward and return to the negotiation table with the employer and possibly agree to a new collective contract.
Employees on strike from Charlevoix include security guards, cashiers, slot machines, housekeeping and coat check attendants, along with vault, counting room and customer service ones. According to Mr. Dufour, the only department that is not affected by the strike are the croupiers from the casino and the staff of the catering services.
Furthermore, the president pointed out to the employer’s amazing profits from the last FY, stating the workers deserve a bigger share of the profits as they have a major part in making those profits. He believes the demand is legitimate and that the gambling employer can pay what is requested as the industry is flourishing.
However, the employer argues that the union wants too much. The Crown Corporation elaborated that the demands are equivalent to salary increases of 24% over three years, which would be more than double what the company awarded its employees last year. It noted that last year’s contract bumps were well-received by its staff.
In addition to that the employer claimed that its latest offer to the union was quite generous. This does not include overtime. Its representative argued that the conditions are even more attractive and competitive for all staff when all the benefits are considered: incentive compensation, numerous bonuses and the defined benefit pension plan.
-Staff Remains Skeptical
But Mr. Dufour, who is a slot machine attendant and has been one for quite a while, and said that it was dishonest to think that an employee would be able to reach the quoted from the company salaries. But still, he is looking forward to going back to work and said that workers have no choice but to continue the strike. He is hopeful that an agreement with the employer could be found soon.
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