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Montreal Casino Employees Stage Bold Protest, Plead for Increased Demands from Loto-Québec
Montreal, Quebec – Casino workers in Montreal took to the streets in protest on Thursday, citing stalled negotiations with Loto–Québec as the primary reason for their strike.
A Plea for Financial Stability
Constantinos Alexiou, a Montreal casino employee affiliated with the CSN union, expressed the workers’ frustration, saying, “Everyone seems to be understanding that life is getting more and more expensive, and we’re having trouble reaching both ends. Maybe it’s about time we do something about it and provide proper salaries.”
The strike involves approximately 1,700 CSN union members from four different casinos across Quebec, including Montreal, and the province’s online gaming platform, Espacejeux. They have been on strike since late June, advocating for a wage increase that keeps pace with the rising cost of living, in addition to an extra dollar per hour.
Disputing Wage Competitiveness
Loto–Québec had previously claimed that their salaries were competitive, averaging 20 percent above the market rate. However, the union contends that these figures are outdated in today’s highly competitive labor market.
One union representative stated, “We are willing to negotiate. The employer has been reducing salaries by 2.5 percent per year for the past five years, but they are also insisting that new hires accept a 10 percent reduction.”
Highlighting the urgency of the situation, the representative added, “We’re in the home stretch. What we’re asking for is, as I mentioned, a wage that keeps up with the cost of living, so we can avoid becoming financially strained year after year.”
Appealing to the public, the union representative said, “We understand it’s challenging to resist the allure of gambling, especially in this economic climate. Even for us, the dream of winning the lottery is intriguing. What we’re asking is that you consider refraining from visiting the casinos, limiting your online gaming, or even abstaining altogether. Essentially, please avoid it at all costs.”