Gateway Casinos and union butting heads in mediation over wage increases - InfoNews

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Gateway Casinos and union butting heads in mediation over wage increases

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July 12, 2018 - 10:04 AM

After three days of mediation, Gateway Casinos and the union representing its employees still don't appear to be seeing eye-to-eye on proposed wage increases.

In a news release, Gateway Casinos says the B.C. Government Employees' Union announced yesterday, July 11, that it was not prepared to provide a wage proposal until July 20. This follows three days of mediation and nearly two weeks of workers being on strike.

The union represents more than 675 employees at Playtime Casino in Kelowna, Lake City Casino in Vernon, and Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton. The unionized staff include table games workers, slot attendants, count room employees, security guards and guest services and maintenance staff.

Gateway says on the first day of mediation, the union maintained its proposals for wage increases of 60 per cent plus "significant increases" for benefits. Gateway calls it in excess of any reasonable rates in this market and not competitive.

According to the company, the union has proposed that a casino security officer would be making 23 per cent more than the starting rate of an entry-level RCMP officer and that rates for other positions are comparable to the earnings of tradespeople, nurses and teachers.

On the second day of mediation, Gateway says it proposed wage rate increases between 2.4 per cent and 13 per cent in the first year of the collective agreement, and a two per cent increase each year after that.

"These wages, in addition to tips, would see Gateway employees making well over market rates," Gateway says in the release. "This proposal is also in line with other recent settlements in British Columbia both by government and private companies."

At noon yesterday, July 11, the union came back to say it would not be prepared to provide a wage proposal until July 20, the company says.

"The fact is this strike is causing harm to the employees and to the business," Gateway states in the release. "Our employees are telling us that they want to return to work as soon as possible and do not want to see delays in mediation. We are prepared to bargain any time, including weekends and holidays. We know a satisfactory collective agreement for both our staff and our company is possible, but it is not possible to achieve this if the union is not prepared or available to bargain."

In the meantime, all four casinos remain open for business.

In Kamloops, animosity appears to be growing on the picket line with accusations hurled by social media earlier this week.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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