Loto-Québec announced this week that its CSN-affiliated employees have officially put an end to their unlimited strike.
The news comes after the two sides reached an agreement that will see some 1,700 workers from the province’s four casinos and online wagering platform return to their posts for the first time in three months.
Background of the Québec casinos strike
Disputes between the provincial regulator and its Québec casino workers arose back in June over union demands for increased pay following an uptick in revenues post-COVID. Initially, the union wanted wage increases that reflected the rise in cost of living, plus $1 per hour.
However, the employer argued the demands were too steep, especially when compared to existing agreements with its other employees.
In late July, a spokesperson for Loto-Québec told PlayCanada that the parties had resumed productive talks. It took some time, but the parties now seem to be back on track after the union accepted the recommendation proposed by the Ministère du Travail conciliator, Loto-Québec said in a statement
The provincial regulator added it is “pleased to have reached a responsible agreement that ends the strike.”
Majority of union members in favour of conciliator’s recommendation, end strike
According to the labour union, 73% of members endorsed the conciliator’s recommendation. In doing so, they will receive a salary increase of 16% over six years, integrating 2% of the bonus and a lump sum of $1,250 into their salary.
While finer details remain scant for now, more information will emerge over the coming days.
Riccardo Scopelleti, spokesperson for Intercasinos and president of the security unit for Casino de Montréal, weighed in on the matter:
“Throughout the conflict, workers from all units remained united,” Scopelleti said in a press release. “I can proudly say that the bonds of solidarity we have created are here for good.”
The conciliator’s recommendation was submitted to the general assemblies of the various units on strike last week. Ultimately, the voting process went smoothly, producing a final verdict on Monday, Sept. 25.
Frédéric Brun, vice president of the Federation of Public Service Employees, says this marked the first time that the nine units of Intercasinos negotiated together. In a press release, Brun called it, “an experience which significantly increased our balance of power.”
Loto-Québec: Casino workers to return in coming weeks
Prior to the agreement, if residents were interested in gambling in Québec, the retail gaming centres remained open only on modified schedules.
Now, with a deal in place, Loto-Québec says operations will gradually resume as staff members return to their positions in the coming weeks.
In its press release, the crown corporation advised customers to visit each gaming centre’s official website for more information. Here, customers will find out when the gaming locations are open and what services will be available.