Publish: 09.10.2018

Gateway Casinos Dealt Blow as Strikes Perpetuate

it is unfortunate that we are in a position of needing to bring lawsuits in order to ensure that the union picketers behave lawfully
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Strikes are nothing new in the world of business, and they can often happen on an annual basis, especially where unions are involved. Well, over the past year Canada has seen a great deal of strike action in the gambling sector. Specifically when it comes to provincial casinos. As we know, there have been issues across different provinces with regard to striking staff at casinos.

Back in August news broke that Gateway Casinos, one of the biggest names in Canadian gambling, was plagued with strike action by its employees. In fact, casinos across British Columbia have been suffering strike issues for some time now, as union membership has dramatically increased. This has led to many casinos across B.C. facing strike action, with Gateway’s casinos among the worst affected.

In fact, we have seen long-running strike action affect the harmony and appeal of many casinos in the province. The continued strikes have threatened to have a detrimental impact on the way casinos conduct their business, and this has led to a lot of friction. In fact, this has led to Gateway applying for a court application against staff from their Playtime Casino in Okanagan.

Indeed, the application was made in an attempt to make it a criminal offence for striking employees to trespass on casino property and harass customers. However, it seems that the application has been denied by the Supreme Court, in a move that is sure to infuriate Gateway.

The strike has been in full swing since the middle of June, and regrettably shows no signs of reaching a conclusion. There was the hope that the two parties had reached some sort of conclusion after a prolonged stalemate, but nothing materialised. There have been other instances of strike action across the country that has wound up yielding positive results. For instance, Great Canadian Gaming was recently locked in agreements with UNIFOR over new deals for its staff in five different casinos. It was hoped that Gateway would follow suit, but this is something that has not happened yet.

After Gateway hit unions with legal action, it was hoped that this would trigger an end to the bitter stalemate, but this has not wound up happening. 675 workers have been on strike since the summer, and Gateway’s application was denied by Justice Michael Tammen in a 13-page document explaining the decision. He deemed the action of the strikers to be ‘generally peaceful.’

Perhaps predictably, Gateway has not taken the decision well, and they took the step of declining interviews. The company instead released a statement saying, “… it is unfortunate that we are in a position of needing to bring lawsuits in order to ensure that the union picketers behave lawfully.”

This is not a conflict that looks as though it is going to have a swift resolution, and it seems as though we could be seeing several more weeks of strike action. However, this recent setback for Gateway might encourage the popular casino operator to give in to the demands of the unions and striking workers.