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Montreal casino employees threaten to strike during Grand Prix weekend



Wages are at the heart of the dispute, which has been continuing since June 2022.

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More than 1,000 Montreal casino employees have just given themselves a five-day strike mandate to be used “at the opportune moment” — and the busy Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix weekend could well be the moment they choose.

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In a press release issued on Saturday, the CSN-affiliated union representing casino employees announced its members have voted 91 per cent in favour of a five-day strike bank, noting at the outset the mandate was given “in the run-up to the Montreal Grand Prix.”

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The Formula 1 race on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit on Île Notre-Dame, where the casino is also located, is one of the most popular tourist events in Montreal during the summer season. This year, it will take place from June 16 to 18.

The casino employees’ union could use this crucial weekend to speed up negotiations with their employer, Loto-Québec, which have been continuing since June 2022.

Wages are at the heart of the dispute.

Employees are asking for increases that represent “the equivalent of the rise in the cost of living plus $1 per hour,” in order to “protect employees’ purchasing power and improve attraction and retention.”

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Loto-Québec quickly reacted to the announcement with its own news release, ensuring business would continue as usual in the province’s casinos despite the continuing pressure tactics.

Loto-Québec said it considers it has already presented “two comprehensive and generous monetary offers,” which, in its view, were adequate to “address the major issues of attraction, retention and the economic context.”

Employees at the Casino de Gatineau and Jeux en ligne have also issued similar five-day strike mandates, while workers at the Charlevoix and Mont-Tremblant casinos are expected to hold votes in the next few days.

Those affected by the current negotiations work in customer service, catering and security at the casinos. Only croupiers are not involved, as they are represented by another union.

The croupiers also held various pressure tactics last year before reaching an agreement with their employer in August.


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