June 29, 2018 4:41 pm
Updated: June 29, 2018 7:23 pm

Okanagan casino employees walk off the job

Mediation between the BC Government and Service Employees Union and their employers broke down earlier this week.

Global News File

Workers at Gateway’s Okanagan casinos walked off the job on Friday at 3:01 p.m.

More than 675 members of the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) in Kamloops, Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton are on strike after mediation broke down earlier this week.

“Our members are asking for living wages that would bring them in-line with the industry standard for casino workers in B.C.,” BCGEU president Stephanie Smith said in a news release.

READ MORE: Gateway’s Okanagan casino workers set to strike

“These workers are the heart of their casinos. Gateway is a successful company in a highly profitable industry — they can afford to pay their staff what they are worth.”

Staff in all four Okanagan casinos voted 93 per cent in favour of strike action earlier this month, she said.

The union delivered 72 hours’ notice of strike action earlier this week.

READ MORE: B.C. money laundering report says casino chips being used as ‘currency’ to traffic drugs

The collective agreement expired in September 2017. Negotiations broke off in May.

Both parties also met for a few days of mediated talks over the last two weeks, but couldn’t reach an agreement on key monetary issues, according to a BCGEU news release.

“The wages Gateway are offering won’t even keep ahead of the planned minimum wage increases,” Smith said.

Gateway Casinos had not yet responded to request for comment.

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