Quebec: Casino de Montréal employees likely to strike during Grand Prix weekend over wages dispute

Over 1000 Casino de Montréal employees have issued a five-day strike mandate to be used “at the appropriate time.” Local media reports speculate that the time could be during the upcoming Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix weekend. The race is one of the most popular tourist events in the city of Montreal during the summer season and is held on the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit on Île Notre-Dame, Quebec, where the casino is also located. This year, it is scheduled to take place from June 16 to 18.

In a press release, the CSN-affiliated union representing casino workers announced that 91% of its members were in favor of a five-day strike, noting that the mandate was given “in the run-up to the Montreal Grand Prix.”

The employees’ union has been in talks with their employer, Loto-Québec, since June 2022. The union is demanding an increase in pay that represents “the equivalent of the rise in the cost of living plus $1 per hour” to protect employees’ purchasing power and improve attraction and retention. The employees threatening to strike include workers in customer service, catering, and security at the casinos. 

Loto-Québec reacted to the announcement in a press release, stating that business in the province will not be affected despite the pressure tactics. According to the company, it has already presented “two comprehensive and generous monetary offers,” which, in its view, were adequate to “address the major issues of attraction, retention and the economic context.”

Similar demands are being raised at the Casino de Gatineau and Jeux en Ligne, along with their respective strike mandates. Meanwhile, workers at the Charlevoix and Mont-Tremblant casinos are expected to hold votes in the next few days.