Grand Villa Casino Begins Layoffs in Edmonton

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Grand Villa Casino in Edmonton, Canada.
  • After hours reduction, Grand Villa employees facing layoffs
  • Employees can opt into voluntary redundancies or transition to part-time positions
  • Union representative say they feel “blind sided” by the way the matter was handled

The Grand Villa Casino in Edmonton, Canada will see dozens of workers laid off as part of a restructuring addressing slow economy.

Grand Villa Proceeds to Cut Jobs in Edmonton

A number of employees at the Grand Villa Casino in Edmonton are facing layoffs, with some staff members already saying to have received their notices. According to Michael Hughes, a representative of the United Food and Commercial Worker union, notices have been handed to employees since Tuesday, August 27.

The exact number of employees targeted by the move is not specified, but dozens are at risk, media reports confirmed. The casino is focusing on shedding staff from various facilities at the casinos including the Starbucks coffee chain.

Other employers to have been handed notices are part of the Sbarro Pizza, Vera’s Burger Shack and Pinkberry staff. According to Hughes, the union has already been mobilized to ensure that the collective agreement will be respected.

Meanwhile, full-time employees have been offered to cut their status to part-time employees, with a deadline until Friday, September 6 to decide whether they agree to these new terms.

The Layoffs Were Coming

The latest events were expected, based on a previous press release by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, the company that owns Grand Villa, informing employees that the company would need to reduce staff and cut back work hours because of low visitors’ rate.

Gateway’s Direct of Public Relations Tanya Gabara had this to say explaining the situation:

These temporary operational changes are necessary due to the lack of business caused by the extensive delays in the construction in the downtown core and lack of well-lit surface parking in close proximity to the casino.”

Ms. Gabara explained that casino employees have been offered three options, one of which was to take a voluntary exit package, relocate to Gateway’s other casino in Edmonton or agree to become a part-time employee. Gabara acknowledged that at the moment the company didn’t know many employees had been affected by the move.

Staff Feels Betrayed

According to Mr. Hughes, the main issue lied with Gateway’s initial statement which said that it would only cut hours, but that didn’t translate into job cuts as well – which is the case presently. The union only agreed to the measures because the company had promised to try and make things work for the employees.

He confirmed that employees that have been laid off will receive a six-month benefits package as well as a recall list should there be any pick up in trade activity.

The other property of the company in Edmonton, the Starlight Casino, launched on September 26, 2018, and was the latest project of Gateway at the time. With the addition of the Starlight property, Gateway boasted an overall investment across its projects in Edmonton worth $90 million.

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