Mediated talks between Gateway Casinos and the union representing 700 striking workers will resume later this week.
Gateway spokesperson Tanya Gabara says they have confirmed three days of mediation with the BC Government and Service Employees Union starting this Friday and continuing until Sunday.
The union is seeking what it calls a living wage increase for its members in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops, but executive vice president Doug Kinna wasn’t putting a number on that when we spoke with him last week, saying “it varies from community to community based on market basket measures.”
The casino workers have been on the picket lines since June 29th.
Gabara says the company’s latest proposal offers wage hikes of between 2 and 13 percent in the first year which, when combined with tips, is well over market rates.
She says the union is seeking increases around 60%.
“We know a fair and reasonable collective agreement for both our staff and our company is possible and remain committed to these negotiations to reach a deal and get our employees back to work,” Gabara says in an email to Beach Radio News.
BCGEU executive vice president Doug Kinna says they are still looking for a better offer from the company.
“Where there’s talk, there’s hope. We’ll just have to see what the employer says. The members are strong on the picket line. They don’t want to settle for anything less than industry standard.”
Kinna casts doubt on the company’s claim that the union’s demands would amount to 60% wage hike.
“I think they’re just playing with percentages and trying to make it look like more than it is. We’ve asked for an industry standard contract, and we think that’s fair.”
Photo courtesy of BCGEU