The union representing striking casino workers in the Okanagan and Kamloops says mediated talks broke off last week because the company wouldn’t back-up claims they can’t afford the union’s wage proposal.
BC Government and Service Employees Union president Stephanie Smith says they asked Gateway Casinos to provide financial details to the mediator, but they refused.
“How can our members trust Gateway’s claims when they refuse to let a third-party mediator verify them?” says Smith.
The company has yet to respond to the union’s claims.
Smith says Gateway’s most recent offer is neither fair nor reasonable.
“It would keep our members working in their casinos in the Thompson-Okanagan earning well below wages casino workers are making on the coast for the same work and it would mean most of our members’ wages would still be hovering around minimum wage by the second year of the agreement,” says Smith.
Company spokesperson Tanya Gabara told us earlier this week, they were offering workers raises of 7 to 19 percent in the first year of a new deal, but says the union wanted increases of more than 24 percent, which it says is more than even the largest casinos working 24-7 in Metro Vancouver.
About 675 BCGEU members working at four Gateway Casinos in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and Kamloops have been on strike since June 29, with no new talks scheduled.
The employees work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.