Casino de Montreal croupiers launch indefinite strike as negotiations stall

MONTREAL — Croupiers at the Casino de Montreal launched an indefinite general strike on Saturday as negotiations for a new collective agreement stalled.

In a statement, the union representing the workers said the strike began at 9 a.m. with a picket erected in the afternoon outside the casino.

Loto-Quebec, which runs the province’s casinos, said it was disappointed with the strike, but said operations at the Montreal casino would continue as normal and customers would have access. Gaming tables, restaurants, slot machines and shows are operating normally, while the poker lounge is closed.

Dealers staged a pair of four-hour strikes last weekend to denounce stalled negotiations.

The collective bargaining agreement that frames working conditions for 521 dealerships expired on March 31, 2020, with wages and hours among the issues at stake.

Croupiers are asking in particular for better organization of work and rest time to avoid injuries at work, said Jean-Pierre Proulx, union representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, in a press release. He said the number of employees with work-related injuries was “staggering”.

Loto-Québec issued a press release indicating that it offers safe and optimal working conditions to its employees.

“However, the croupiers of the Casino de Montréal ask for 30 minutes of paid break for each hour worked. They would therefore spend more than 30% of their shift on paid break, which is unusual in the industry and in other company casinos. “said the provincial lottery corporation.

On wages, CUPE accuses the employer of wanting to reduce pay to 2017 levels and alleges the new pay scale would ensure new hires earn 90 per cent of base pay.

“In a context of labor shortage, this is downright irresponsible and the union will never accept it,” said Mr. Proulx.

Loto-Québec replies that the opening salary is 20% higher than what is offered on the market.

Loto-Quebec says it wants to reach a “responsibly negotiated agreement” and said the negotiations were similar to what has been agreed to by other CUPE-affiliated unions at other casinos it operates.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press