Wage Dispute Has Québec Casino Workers On The Picket Lines

Written By Matthew Lomon on June 26, 2023 - Last Updated on July 10, 2023
Cost of living

The stalemate between Loto-Québec and casino workers in Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, Charlevoix and Gatineau took another decisive turn this past week.

Last Thursday, the dissatisfied Québec casino employees, along with staff from Jeux en ligne, voted in favour of an unlimited general strike, which officially began last Friday.

Previously, the group went on strike for five days during the Montréal Grand Prix, but gaming facilities remained open. The walkout was said to have affected catering, security and maintenance services.

After weeks of tension, the two sides have officially hit a wall

According to Riccardo Scopelleti, president of the Casino de Montréal-CSN security workers’ unit, the dispute has ultimately reached an impasse.

The union continues to push for wage increases that align with the rising cost of living, plus $1 per hour. Part of its argument draws from Loto-Québec’s annual report for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which generated record numbers. Here, the crown corporation’s casino and gaming hall sector earned $1.1 billion in revenue, which is up $444 million or 67.6% over the previous fiscal year.

Moreover, the union claims that Loto-Québec management is sharing $650,000 in bonuses this year, and that it’s insulting to deny union members a raise that reflects the cost of living.

On the flip side, their employer is mystified by the union’s movement towards an indefinite strike. Loto-Québec is adamant that all the necessary elements for an agreement are readily available.

Specifically, it says that it offers good working conditions and that casino wages exceed those of the reference market by roughly 20% for most job categories. The provincial regulator added that the value of CSN’s demands is more than double what other employees of the organization received last year.

Unsurprisingly, Stéphanie Gratton, interim president of the Fédération des employées et employés du secteur public-CSN, vehemently disagrees with the company’s assertion.

Québec gaming facilities to remain open during strike, but on varying schedules

Despite the latest walkout, certain gaming facilities will continue operations as usual. Per Loto-Québec, Casino du Lac-Leamy, Trois-Rivières gaming hall and Quebec City gaming hall are all still running without interruption.

Casinos in Montréal, Charlevoix, and Mont-Tremblant will also remain open but on a modified schedule specific to each establishment. Certain services will also only be available on a limited basis.

Notably, the strike does not affect croupiers (dealers) at the modified locations, as they are part of a separate union. Finally, Loto-Québec’s gaming website will also be accessible, but without the call centre, which is closed during the strike.

Amidst the indefinite holdout, Loto-Québec expressed its interest in resuming discussions with the union and conciliator. In doing so, it hopes to reach a fair settlement that will ensure responsible management of public funds.

Matthew Lomon Avatar
Written by
Matthew Lomon

Matthew Lomon has been a contributor at Catena Media’s network of regional sites since July 2022. He first broke into covering the legal North American gambling industry with PlayCanada. Since then, Matthew's reporting has extended to PlayMichigan, PlayPennsylvania, and PlayIllinois. Based out of Toronto, Ontario, Matthew is an avid (bordering on fanatic) sports fan.

View all posts by Matthew Lomon
Privacy Policy