A dispute between Gateway Casinos and its unionized workers is going to mediation.
The president of the BC Government and Service Employees Union, Stephanie Smith, told Beach Radio News that negotiators from both sides will hold two meetings with a mediator later this week.
The meetings will take place Wednesday and Friday although Smith did not disclose the location.
She said wages and benefits are at the top of the union’s negotiating list.
“We live in one of the most expensive provinces in the country and, unfortunately, the wage offer from the employer when we were meeting with them would not have actually kept our members up with minimum wage increases that are announced by the provincial government,” Smith said.
Workers at the four Okanagan casinos, including Vernon, voted 93 percent in favour of strike action, according to the union boss, although they are hoping it won’t come to that.
Smith said another big concern for the union is working conditions.
“There is often a lot of abuse and abusive behaviour, whether it’s bullying from clients – that is put towards our members. In a climate where the customer is always right, sometimes management refuses to deal with those when they are raised.”
Union workers at four casinos in the Okanagan, including in Vernon, and in Kamloops earlier voted in favour of job action to meet demands.
About 100 workers rallied outside the BC Lottery Corporation building in Vancouver today.