Croupiers at Montreal Casino have gone on strike over poor working conditions and salary cuts. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Protesting serious issues
Montreal Casino croupiers have gone on strike, blaming poor working conditions and cutbacks on salaries. They began their unlimited general strike at 9am on Saturday and say it will continue until there is a resolution to the situation. As part of the first day, workers marched from a local metro station to the casino.
Explaining reasons for the protest, Union representative Jean-Pierre Proulx said half of the croupiers had experienced physical injuries as a result of their work at the casino.
Dealers usually deal almost 10,000 cards in a single shift
Proulx explained that the croupiers usually deal almost 10,000 cards in a single shift, repeating that five or six days each and every week. He said many develop tendinitis and other forms of repetitive strain injuries as a result, concluding: “After 15 years on the job, that starts to add up.”
Escalation of the dispute
The croupiers at Montreal Casino have already protested with little effect. They held a couple of work stoppages over the previous weekend as a way to signify their displeasure at stalling negotiations.
Casino Montreal is the biggest casino in all of Canada. Croupiers at other Loto-Quebec casinos are not taking part in the strike.
Loto-Quebec, operator of the Montreal Casino, expressed his disappointment at the strike and reassured customers that regular operations at the property would continue. While the poker lounge is not open, the slot machines, restaurants, shows, and gaming tables are operating as usual. Loto-Quebec also maintained that all employees work in an optimal and safe environment.
The collective agreement regarding working conditions for the casino’s 521 croupiers and dealers came to an end on March 31, 2020. Since then, issues have arisen regarding working schedules and salaries. Due to a shortening of shifts, croupiers often need to work six days a week in order to earn at least 30 hours of work on their weekly paycheck.
Loto-Quebec has outlined the demands of the croupiers, confirming that they are “asking for 30 minutes of paid break for each hour worked.” The operator also voiced his argument against this. “They would, therefore, spend more than 30 percent of their shift on paid break, which is unusual in the industry,” Loto-Quebec stated.
wants to drop the starting employee salary by 10%
The casino firm wants to drop the starting employee salary by 10%, which would see it reduced to CA$17.44 (US$22.28) per hour from CA$18.40 (US$23.51). The current starting salary is 20% greater than the market standard, according to the business.
Meanwhile, the croupiers’ union representative believes that this salary drop is irresponsible, especially due to ongoing labor shortages. He maintained that the croupiers will never accept the salary decrease and that they also want better management of rest breaks and work shifts.
Despite the tensions, Loto-Quebec affirmed it is looking to secure a “responsible negotiated agreement.” Discussions are continuing.