BCGEU treasurer, Paul Finch speaks outside Playtime Casino in Kelowna with picketers —Contributed

Mediation talks break off in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU have no new date set for mediation

Mediation between Gateway Casinos and over 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) on strike officially broke off on Saturday, July 21 – the same day that saw hundreds of supporters flock to the picket lines across all four sites in the Thompson Okanagan.

“We made moves on our end in mediation trying to get to a deal, but Gateway still refuses to pay its workers what they are worth,” Doug Kinna, BCGEU executive vice president said in a press release. “Gateway keeps saying publicly that they want our members back at work but, behind closed doors, they are offering insulting wage proposals that don’t even keep up with planned minimum wage increases.”

Related: Show of union solidarity on casino picket lines

Community and other union members in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton showed up on the picket lines in large numbers on Saturday for solidarity rallies across the region.

“Our members on strike receive incredible, ongoing support from their communities and the labour movement as a whole,”Paul Finch, BCGEU treasurer said in a press release. “The public knows the casino industry is booming and that workers are the key to Gateway’s success – they know the company needs to do the right thing and compensate its employees properly.”

There are currently no new dates set for mediation.

Related: Further mediated talks scheduled in casino strike

“These picket lines are strong and they will be up until Gateway agrees to pay a living wage,” Finch said.

BCGEU members working at four Gateway Casinos in the Okanagan walked off the job on Friday, June 29 after mediation broke down with their employer. Workers are asking for living wages, better working conditions and respect on the job.

BCGEU represents staff spread across Gateway’s four casinos in the Okanagan: Playtime Casino in Kelowna, Lake City Casino in Vernon, and Cascades Casinos in Kamloops and Penticton. BCGEU members work in table games, as slot attendants, cashiers, in the count room, kitchen, security, guest services and maintenance.

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