Mediation efforts aimed at ending the nearly two-week strike by casino workers in the Okanagan and Kamloops are continuing.
Three days of scheduled talks between the striking BC Government Employees Union and Gateway Casinos Entertainment Ltd. began Monday.
As those talks continue, there is optimism on the picket lines.
“So far, we haven’t had any news here on the lines, but, in my opinion, no news is good news because it means they are still negotiating,” said Kelowna picket captain Tawni Duhamel.
“They’re still talking. It means things haven’t broken down, nobody’s walked away. In my opinion, that’s a really good sign for us.”
More than 675 workers walked off the job June 29, seeking a living wage in the Okanagan and to meet industry standards across Canada. They’re asking for improved benefits and “general respect in the workplace.”
While workers walk the picket lines, Gateway Entertainment is using management to keep the casinos operating, albeit with limited services and hours. Match Restaurants and poker rooms are not operating, and limited table games are operational.
Casino hours have also been cut back to five days a week.
Continuing operations means there has been some friction on the picket lines.
RCMP in Kelowna say they have been asked to respond to three incident along the picket lines “where picketers have made allegations of inappropriate, and in some cases assaultive behaviour, directed towards them from members of the general public.”
The incidents are being investigated, however, no charges have been laid. Police were also apparently called when pickets were said to be blocking an entrance on hotel property.
In Kamloops, one picketer apparently suffered minor injuries after being hit by a motorist attempting to turn into the property from the highway.
In Vernon, striking workers are being accused of blocking some motorists from entering the parking lot, which also houses other businesses.
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