Casino workers still worried - Tuesday 7th of August 2007

Concerned casino workers are seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Patrick Manning to once and for all resolve issues relating to the regularisation or proposed elimination of the local gaming and gambling industry.

The union representing the workers, Union of Members Clubs and Lottery Workers, said this request comes on the heels of several meetings with Minister in the Ministry of Finance Conrad Enill which they saw as inconclusive.

A meeting scheduled with Minister in the Ministry of Finance Kenneth Valley yesterday was called off and is now rescheduled to August 8.

Executive member of the UMCLW Cindy Gibbs said during a press conference, at the NUGFW Conference room on Henry Street, on Tuesday, the Union believes, "there is a lack of communication between the Prime Minister and his Ministers, as they have been hearing from Ministers that regularisation of the industry would be "considered" but were getting no reassuring feedback from Manning on the future of the industry.

However, she said the issue of eliminating the gambling and gaming industry was more than a concern for workers but was a threat on the countrys democracy and encouraged the elimination of free choice.

"Our democracy is being challenged by one man," she said.

She also said the Prime Minister was allowing his own views to blind him from the fact that the industry, which he has been opting to eliminate since last year, provided employment for almost 9,000 people, at least 2,000 of them being elderly and many others coming from economically distressed areas.

She warned that as elections drew closer the Prime Minister should think about the thousands of votes he could lose if those workers were put on the breadline.

Union president Andy Creece said though the Government has been speaking of retraining for the workers who will be unemployed when the industry is shut down, thus far, no set plan has been proposed or presented to the union and he believes those are just statements made to keep the peace.

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