On the Picket Line

Casino workers in Quebec on strike for higher wages

By Michel Prairie
July 31, 2023

MONTREAL — Some 1,700 workers at four casinos and gaming halls owned by the government corporation Lotto Quebec have been on strike since June 23 across the province.

The strikers, members of the Confederation of National Trade Unions (CSN), work in casino restaurants, maintenance and security. They are demanding wage increases equivalent to the rise in the cost of living, plus $1 more an hour.

“It’s really the question of wages that’s at the heart of the conflict,” explained Pierre Roy, vice president of grievances for the restaurant section of the CSN’s Union of Casino Corporation Employees, during a solidarity visit by this worker-correspondent to a lively picket line involving some 100 strikers in front of the Montreal Casino July 9. “All employees are offended and insulted that Lotto Quebec’s top executives are giving themselves 34% increases when they’re offering us 2.5%.” After reaching 8.1% in 2022, Canada’s official inflation rate was still 4.3% in March.

Some 2,000 casino workers and supporters from across the province demonstrated July 5 in front of Lotto-Quebec’s main office in downtown Montreal.