Disagreement over salaries between Loto-Quebec and the gaming industry workers of the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) union has erupted into a general strike.

The indefinite strike has hit Loto-Quebec’s casino operations, an increasingly important part of the company’s business, after CSN-affiliated employees at the Gatineau, Montreal, Mont-Tremblant and Charlevoix venues walked out on 23 June.

As a result of staff shortages, the operator has had to offer its casino services on a ‘limited basis’ at the aforementioned venues. Striking casino workers would later hold a demonstration in Montreal earlier this week.

A statement from the company read: “Loto-Québec is disappointed with the union’s decision to pursue an indefinite general strike when all the elements necessary to reach an agreement are available. 

“The employer has already tabled a global and generous monetary offer. The Corporation is determined to propose significant improvements to working conditions while ensuring that public funds are managed responsibly.”

The CSN maintains that its members’ are calling for pay equivalent to the rising costs of living in the province, plus an extra CA$1 per hour. In contrast, Loto-Quebec argues that the union has demanded a doubling of evening, night and weekend bonuses and an increase in salary bonuses of 24% over three years.

Loto-Quebec asserts that its casino salaries are ‘‘well above the reference market, at more than 20% for the majority of job categories’, and that its offer to the union has been fair.

“The Company wishes to resume serious and constructive discussions with the union and the conciliator in order to reach a fair settlement for all of the organisation’s employees while ensuring responsible management of public funds,” the lottery concluded.

Casino operations have taken on a heightened importance for Loto-Quebec in recent years, with its casino and gaming hall segment registering the highest revenue in its trading results for 2022/23 financial year at $1.1bn (2021/22: $657m) and the sharpest growth rate of 67.6%.