Casino talks fruitless

UPDATE: 2:45 p.m.

Union officials dispute claims by Gateway Entertainment that they were not prepared to provide a wage proposal to the company.

The comments came after three days of mediated talks failed to bring the two sides closer together as they try to hammer out a new contract for about 675 workers at casinos in the Okanagan and Kamloops.

Casino workers are now entering the second week of a strike to back contract demands.

BCGEU executive vice president Doug Kinna says the union has five wage proposals on the table. He says the company has yet to respond to any of them.

Kinna says the company asked for a complete wage and benefit package, which he says will take some time to prepare. He says they will have that ready to present to the company July 20.

Casino employees continue to ask for a living wage and industry standards in a new contract.

Kinna says assertions by the company that its latest offer, plus tips, pushes employees well over market rates, is simply not true.

Further talks are not scheduled, however, both sides have said they are willing to meet anytime to hammer out a deal.

ORIGINAL: 11:30 a.m.

Company officials say mediated talks aimed at ending a two week strike at Gateway Entertainment casinos in the Okanagan and Kamloops have ended with no deal on the horizon.

Three days of mediated talks concluded Wednesday.

Public relations director Tanya Gabara says the BCGEU, which represents more than 675 striking casino workers did not provide a wage proposal when talks concluded at noon Wednesday.

She said the union would not be prepared to give a wage proposal until next Friday.

When talks began again Monday, Gabara says the union maintained a demand for wage increases of 60 per cent along with "significant" increases in benefits.

On the second day of talks, Gabara says Gateway proposed increases of between 2.4 and 13 per cent in the first year of a new contract and 2 per cent for each remaining year.

"These wages, in addition to tips, (which the union is reported to have calculated to at least $8.75 an hour) would see Gateway employees making well over market rates," said Gabara.

"This proposal is also in line with other recent settlements in British Columbia both by government and private companies."

Gabara says the company is prepared to return to the bargaining table at any time. However, no further talks have been scheduled.


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