Loto-Quebec mystified by union stance amid unlimited general strike

The crown corporation has suggested the union's demands are excessive

Loto-Quebec has expressed dissatisfaction with the Casino de Montréal-CSN security workers’ unit after talks reached an impasse over pay and working conditions.

Last Thursday, CSN-affiliated employees at casinos in Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, Charlevoix and Gatineau staged a one-day strike before calling for an ‘unlimited general strike’ which started a day later.

The union is demanding wage increases equivalent to the rise in the cost of living, plus $1 per hour, arguing that the Société des casinos and Loto-Québec are making significant profits from which its workers should feel the benefit.

Furthermore, the union has alleged that Loto-Québec management is sharing $650,000 in bonuses this year.

The strike affects an estimated 1,700 workers but Loto-Quebec has stated it has maintained activities in casinos and gaming halls with the Casino du Lac-Leamy, Salon de jeux de Trois-Rivières and Salon de jeux de Québec all open according to their usual hours.

However, the Montreal, Charlevoix and Mont-Tremblant casinos are open ‘according to a modified schedule specific to each establishment, and certain services will be offered on a limited basis’.

The main website remains accessible, but the call center is closed during the strike.

Addressing the strike via a post published on the Loto-Quebec website, the crown corporation took aim at the union’s apparent unwillingness to engage in ‘serious and constructive discussions’.

According to Loto-Quebec, two money offers have been tabled in recent months, but the union is allegedly demanding more than double the amount granted to all the other employees of the organization in the past year.

“It should be noted that seven other collective agreements covering employees in the same trade were renewed in the casinos in 2022 to the great satisfaction of the parties,” Loto-Quebec said in a statement.

The organization added: “Loto-Québec offers good working conditions to all its employees. Salaries in casinos are well above the reference market, at more than 20% for the majority of job categories.

“The conditions are even more attractive and competitive for all staff when all the benefits are considered: incentive compensation, numerous bonuses and the defined benefit pension plan. It should be noted that nearly 65% ​​of the hours worked are subject to bonuses, contributing favorably to attractiveness and retention.

“Moreover, the majority of employees affiliated with the CSN benefited from the good financial results of the past year thanks to the incentive compensation program to which they are entitled.”

Loto-Quebec’s statement concluded: “The company wishes to resume serious and constructive discussions with the union and the conciliator in order to reach a fair settlement for all of the organization’s employees while ensuring responsible management of public funds.”

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