Workers at Canada’s Casino Rama Resort have held a solidarity rally in the property’s home city of Orillia, in an attempt to stop job cuts following the private takeover of the gaming facility by Gateway Casinos and Entertainment.

Organised by Unifor, Canada’s largest workers union in the private sector, it follows ongoing outrage expressed by the firm following Gateway gaining control earlier in the year.

In a media release Unifor states that “on July 19, 2019, the very first day that Gateway was free of legal restrictions to protect jobs, the company announced plans to eliminate 65 full-time and 5 part-time positions”.

Staging the #NoJobsNoDice solidarity rally, Unifor, which represents 1,200 members at Casino Rama Resort, brought together workers, retirees and community members from across Central Ontario.

The move was called in response to inaction from the casino’s management as well as the Government of Ontario to protect against layoffs, including the replacement of full-time jobs with part-time work.

The union 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. 

Jerry Dias, Unifor president, stated defiantly: “We’re here to call on the Government of Ontario to protect good casino jobs in Orillia and all across Ontario.

“Let’s stand together today to tell the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the Ontario government: No Jobs, No Dice.

“This deal was supposed to bring more jobs to Orillia and so far only the opposite has transpired. Gateway laid off workers, they cut restaurant hours, removed tables and slot machines and ended valet services.”

Unifor represents 315,000 works “in every major area of the economy” with a membership of 8,700 in the casino industry, striving to create progressive change for a better future.