No progress made in latest labour talks between casino owner, union

Picket lines have been up in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton since June 29

The weeks-long strike at four Interior casinos — including Kamloops’ Cascades Casino — is no closer to ending following four days of negotiations last week.

Gateway Casinos owns casinos in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Vernon that have being picket lines since June 29, with wages the main stumbling block.

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While the B.C. Government Employees’ Union has not yet commented on the latest round of talks, it has earlier indicated it is asking for wage increases that average about 62 per cent for its largely minimum wage-earning workforce.

There are abut 675 workers on strike in the four cities, including 200 in Kamloops.

On Monday, Gateway spokeswoman Tanya Gabara released a statement on Monday, calling last week’s talks “further disappointment.”

Gabara said the company offered the union a package that would have every employee receiving first-year increases from seven to 19 per cent. She said those increases, coupled with tips averaging $8 to $12 per hour, would have had Gateway employees above market rates.

“Our proposal is well above other recent settlements in British Columbia both by government and private companies,” Gabara said. “Yet, after more than five weeks without discussion, the union continues to propose wage increases of more than 24 per cent. Their wage proposals remain above the wages of even the largest casinos operating 24/7 in Metro Vancouver. “

Gateway has not commented on the state of business at the Aberdeen casino. Some customers have been seen crossing the picket line over the last two months, though the parking lot has been largely empty. Chances Gaming Centre on the North Shore has seen an uptick in visitors.

The last contract expired on Sept. 30, 2017.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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