Employer agrees to pay thousands in overdue vacation pay
After months of pressure from the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), management at Hard Rock and River Rock Casinos in the Lower Mainland have agreed to pay workers the money they are owed in earned vacation not taken.
“It’s truly a Christmas miracle that we’ve managed to get this employer to agree to do the right thing and pay our members what they are owed,” says BCGEU Treasurer Paul Finch.
“This victory highlights a fundamental reason why every worker deserves a union: labour laws are sparsely enforced and, without a union, this employer would have continued to break the rules.”
For a significant period of time, the casino workers have been accruing vacation pay for the time that they were owed, but did not take. Instead of paying them out yearly, as the law requires, management has been withholding the money.
“We’re still working out the specifics, but for some workers, the money owed is as much as $5,500,” says Finch.
This announcement comes almost a year after the approximately 2,000 staff at the casinos chose to join BCGEU. Casino staff at Hard Rock and River Rock are still in the process of negotiating a first contract with the casino’s parent company, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
“For a company that made $62 million in retained earnings last year, Great Canadian Gaming has no excuse for short-changing its hard-working staff all these years,” says Finch
“It’s only by the collective action of a union that workers can win real improvements to wages, benefits and safety conditions and, in this particular case, recoup the money they have been owed from the employer.”
BCGEU represents thousands of members in casinos throughout BC including several Gateway Casino locations.