Montreal Casino croupiers have launched an unlimited general strike due to several issues that they have been facing in the recent period. Protesters cite several reasons, including physical injuries, poor working conditions, as well as salary cuts for people that have just started working. The strike comes as a result of a massive displease by workers across the country.
The Strike Will Continue Until a Solution Is Found
Jean-Pierre Proulx, a representative of the union, commented on the development by saying that the strike will be ongoing until a middle ground with Loto-Québec, the operator of all the casinos in the province, is found.
Loto-Québec shared its thoughts on the strike, which began on Saturday, and noted that it is disappointed that things have to go this way. However, Loto-Québec said that Montreal Casino will continue to operate and all of the services, aside from the poker lounge, will run normally.
In the statement, Loto-Québec also said that it offers optimal working conditions, however, workers disagree with that fact. Loto-Québec explained that it wants to find the most effective settlement and added that the negotiations are taking place in an environment agreed by the same employment bodies affiliated with CUPE.
There are a total of 521 Montreal Casino unionized dealers that have been without a collective agreement since April 1.
Workers Demand Bigger Breaks and Better Paychecks
Proulx stated that by working as a dealer, people have to deal around 10,000 cards daily, 5-6 times a week. According to him, 50% of the employees suffer physical injuries, as the work will take a toll if it’s ongoing for 15 years or more.
He also added that Loto-Québec wants to come up with a new pay scale through which new employees would receive 90% of the base salary. Proulx considers this “downright irresponsible” and hence, it is something that the union will not accept.
On the other hand, Loto-Québecnotes that the new employee wage is 20% above the market average. Proulx thinks otherwise as he states that Loto-Québec’s mission is to downgrade paychecks from $18.4/hour to $17.44/hour.
Apart from the salary issue, croupiers at Montreal Casino are seeking extra breaks. They noted that they need a 30-minute paid break for every one hour that they work. The provincial lottery corporation shared its disagreement with this demand by saying that if it accepts it, croupiers will spend more than 30% of their shift on a break and that is “unusual in the industry.”
The gambling industry in Québec has been experiencing shifts in the recent period as both the union and corporations are looking for a better way for this industry to be regulated. It is no wonder that the province and the country itself are not trusted as there have been criminals tied to casinos throughout the years.