More than 1,000 Montreal casino employees have announced a five-day strike to speed up the wage negotiations with the employer Loto-Quebec that commenced in June 2022. According to Montreal Gazette, the customer service, catering, and security casino staff said that they will use the strike mandate “at the opportune moment” less than two weeks ahead of the popular Formula 1 race event.
The employees gathered around a branch of the CSN union have reportedly recently stated that 91 per cent of union members – that exclude croupiers organized into a separate union – have voted for a five-day rally. This vast majority reportedly noted that the strike will take place “in the run-up to the Montreal Grand Prix.”
Grand Prix Weekend:
The Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix is a worldwide famous happening taking place on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit on Île Notre-Dame. The host city of the famous caravan is also the place where the leading Montreal casino is located, and the province is looking forward to welcoming a vast number of tourists and racing fans during one of the most iconic tourist events that will be held from June 16 to 18 this year.
Salary Increase Requested:
According to the source, the members of the casino employees’ union seem aware of the Canadian Grand Prix significance as they might use the race time for the strike to put some more pressure on their employer Loto-Québec and negotiate the wages that will keep them at work.
With the wages having been the apple of discord between the casino employees and the casino, the aforementioned casino staff reportedly requests salary increases that would represent “the equivalent of the rise in the cost of living plus $1 per hour.” The raise is reportedly necessary to “protect employees’ purchasing power and improve attraction and retention.”
Apple of Discord:
The strike in the middle of the busiest summer weekend in Montreal would surely affect the casino operation. But the employer Loto-Québec responded to the announcement reportedly stating that the casinos in the province would continue working normally despite the pressure imposed by the union.
As Montreal Gazette reports, the operator replied that it has already provided “two comprehensive and generous monetary offers” and claimed that these were suitable to “address the major issues of attraction, retention and the economic context.”
More Employees Joining the Strike:
However, some other casino employees in the province, such as those from the Casino de Gatineau and Jeux en ligne, seem to share the opinion of their fellow Loto-Quebec casino workers as they have reportedly also announced a five-day strike, as well as the Charlevoix and Mont-Tremblant casino employees who are expected to vote on the strike mandate in a few days.
Game of Nerves:
The increased wages are sought by the employed at customer service, catering, and security positions at the casinos. They follow the example of the croupiers represented by another union who pressed the employer before they reached the agreement last August. The game of nerves between the employees and the employer still continues, but the time is running out and the agreement might be reach just before the Grand Prix kicks off.