July 23, 2018 1:21 pm
Updated: July 23, 2018 6:41 pm

UPDATED: Talks break down during casino strike

A strike affecting three casinos in the Okanagan and one in Kamloops is continuing after mediation broke down on Saturday.

Jim Douglas / Global News

Mediation between Gateway Casinos and the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union broke down on Saturday.

“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,” BCGEU executive vice president Doug Kinna said in a news release.

READ MORE: No end yet to Interior casino strike

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Workers have been picketing outside Gateway casinos in Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton since they walked off the job on June 29.

Gateway Casinos published an open letter to the Thomson Okanagan communities this afternoon stating union leadership is out of touch with the community and local market dynamics.

“After the union delayed for a week and a half to get back to mediation, they still proposed wage increases of more than 40 per cent on top of the significant increases to benefits, and pensions. For example, they have proposed wage rates of more than $20 per hour for positions such as cashiers, guest services, and restaurant hosts. These are simply not reasonable rate increases for any business, including ours.”

The letter further stated the casino’s disappointment that the union ended mediation ahead of schedule and that no further dates are booked. While Gateway Casinos is open to negotiations, they insist the union “… must come prepared to stay a the table to negotiate a reasonable proposal.”

READ MORE: Okanagan casino employees walk off the job

The strike is affecting approximately 675 employees.

According to the union, there are currently no new dates set for mediation.

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