Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, has expressed outrage at British Columbia-based Gateway Casinos as the firm continues job cuts.

The union, which represents 315,000 works “in every major area of the economy” with a membership of 8,700 in the casino industry, has continued to lament the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s decision to grant control of its central gaming bundle to Gateway last year.

Coming as part of the OLG’s land-based gaming modernisation the bundle was the seventh in the region to transition to a service provider, and saw the firm gain day-to-day operation of Casino Rama Resort on Chippewas of Rama First Nation’s Land and OLG Slots at Georgian Downs in Innisfil, which was later renamed Gateway Casinos Innisfil

The latest strand of jobs cuts concerns the former of the two properties, where layoffs include 65 full-time and five part-time Casino Rama workers.

In a media release Unifor states that: “As the new private operator of several former publicly-run casinos, Gateway Casinos agreed to not eliminate the jobs of workers for at least one year. On the first day after the end of that agreement, Gateway immediately announced layoffs. The majority of those layoffs target full-time workers.”

Calling the decision to sell off assets and grand private operator licences “short sighted,” Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, stated: “Gateway has already profited from the privatisation of Ontario casinos. Now Gateway is gaming the system on the backs of its employees.

“Ontario’s casinos are in serious jeopardy when private operators replace good full-time jobs with precarious employment. 

“If Gateway wants the support of the communities in which they operate then they will have to do more than the bare minimum.”

Previously Dias has also stressed that “Unifor stated all along that the sale of a crown corporation and its operations will negatively affect workers and good jobs in Ontario, and Gateway is doing just that.”