Confédération des syndicats nationaux or CSN which represents over 500 currently protesting employees at Casino Lac-Leamy has shifted the blame to the employer, Loto-Québec. The union explained that the only reason for the strikes to be still dragging on to this day is that the Crown corporation is purposefully stalling and an agreement could have been reached already.
The current strikes are not only at Casino Lac-Leamy but at other gaming properties of the employer across the Province of Quebec. Picket lines were first formed in the middle of June 2023, when unionized workers voted in favour of the strike. They demand an additional CA$1 per hour of work for wages to match the increasing cost of living in the province.
Talks Have Stalled
The Hull Resto-Casino Workers' Union which is affiliated with the CSN, representing both workers in the restaurant sector and the gaming site, claims that the employer has not gone further with the potential agreement due to reasons beyond its control. President Colin Valiquette shared that there are still a few negotiation dates added and talks are quite productive.
But Mr. Valiquette explained that the employer has not taken a step to move the agreement in principle which could have been reached by both sides almost three months after the start of the issue. He clarified that everything is pretty well settled and the only issue remaining on the table is the matter of remuneration. However, he remains intrigued as to why the employer has not moved forward.
Recently, some of the protesting workers shared their thoughts on the situation. One of the protesting staff members, Constantinos Alexiou, commented that life is getting more and more expensive and some workers have trouble making ends meet. He clarified that is why the casino and hotel employees demand proper salaries.
CSN shifted the blame to the Crown corporation for using strikebreakers as security agents at the Casino Montreal in a complaint submitted to the Administrative Labour Tribunal, and reports suggest that this could also occur at the Gatineau. Mr. Valiquette noted that there is a good chance that complaints will be submitted at the other properties.
However, the employer dismissed those claims and assured that it would not resort to such measures to fill in the blanks of unionized employees. In its statement, the Crown said it was not surprised by the union's complaint in the context of how it managed to continue its operations across casinos since the start of the strikes a few months ago.
Employer Wants to Return to the Negotiation Table
Last month, Loto-Québec issued a statement to address the situation and offered several possible solutions to address the union's concerns. However, according to the employer, those terms were declined in the last two days of discussions. Renaud Dugas claimed the union left the negotiation tables for a third time, and that the company remains open to resume talks.
Source: LeBlanc, Daniel “The strike at the Casino du Lac-Leamy drags on for no reason, says the CSN” LeDroit, September 12, 2023